Being away from football gave Deon Drake Jr. a chance to critique his play. (Madalyn Ruggiero / Special to Detroit News)
The Detroit News will profile one of its Blue Chip recruits every day leading up to the Feb. 5 National Signing Day. Today: No. 14 player Deon Drake Jr.
Detroit - There is a silver lining to what was a disappointing senior season for Deon Drake Jr. of Detroit Cass Tech.
Drake is a 6-foot, 235-pound linebacker who is expected to sign with Michigan State on Wednesday.
He suffered an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury in November 2012 and surgery was performed on Jan. 22. He missed the first four games last season as he continued to recover, and when Drake did play he was not 100 percent.
“The recovery was very intense,” he said. “The first week, the first month … physically it was challenging. It made me take a look at myself. I had a chance to critique film. I had a chance to look at my weaknesses.
“Number one, it was my vision. I needed to pay attention to my keys better. And then it was my agility and strength. Really, my footwork had to improve.”
Drake said he was more than satisfied with the doctor who performed the surgery and that the physical therapist was diligent in working Drake back into playing shape.
“I feel I could be on the field right now,” he said. “I’m 100 percent. But it was a battle. It was a time to separate the men from the boys. They told me it would take time. They told me to be patient.”
Drake said he’s in such good condition now that he's considering competing in track in the spring. He excels in the 400-meter dash and the hurdles.