Over the next 18 days, we will feature our picks of Southern Arizona's top preseason high school football players.
Our countdown continues today with Sierra Vista Buena running back Dominique Drake, Southern Arizona's leading rusher last season with more than 2,100 yards.
• The rundown: Dominique Drake, RB, 5-10, 210, Sierra Vista Buena, senior
• Who he is: A power back who tore up defenses in his first season with the Colts. When Drake transferred from Hyattsville, Md., two weeks before the season, coach Ryan Scherling said he wasn't really sure how Drake would perform. Well, he and the rest of Southern Arizona didn't have to wait long. In Drake's first game, he gained 234 yards on 15 carries in a 49-15 blowout win against Santa Rita. Drake uses his downhill strength and speed to simply outrun and bowl over defenders. The confident senior running back said he believes he can do even better than his first-team All-Southern Arizona season last year, but with defenses stacking the boxes, it won't be easy. Drake has concentrated on his speed and endurance, especially after tiring some at the end of last season.
• Proof he's good: The numbers. Drake ran for 2,109 yards and scored 29 touchdowns last year, breaking the school record by more than 300 yards. He was also the top rusher in Southern Arizona. Scherling said the key to this season is to lessen Drake's workload through an improved passing game. It might seem counterintuitive to give Drake fewer touches, but Scherling said he expects the fresher back to still provide the same sort of production while keeping defenses more honest. Drake has a scholarship offer from Army, and another successful season with the Colts should help his prospects.
• He said it: "He runs downhill and he gets there in a hurry. He's not really going to make elusive moves by any means, but he can get to that corner and turn it. He has that extra gear to get big gains, the 25-plus (yard) gains that you look for." - Scherling