RECRUITING: Nevis Says Still Ole Miss But ...

Nearly every day something happens that lets Drake Nevis know just how fortunate he is. Living in the New Orleans suburb of Marrero, he hears the stories of people whose lives will never be the same after Hurricane Katrina. He was one of the fortunate ones. His home only took minor damage to the roof.

(See Drake Nevis profile)

"We lost some shingles off the roof and that's about it," said Nevis, a 6-2, 285-pound defensive tackle from John Ehret High School that teammates call D-Havoc. "We were gone from home about a month, that's all, and then we got to come home. Some of my friends, they're still not home and it's almost a year later."

When he goes into the city, he sees the lingering effects of the big storm that transformed New Orleans into one of the biggest natural disasters in the history of the United States. That's when he understands how blessed he and his family were to not only get out of town ahead of the hurricane but also when they returned a month later to find their home still standing.

"I remember especially the first time driving into the city and seeing the water lines almost to the roof," he said. "Then you see holes in the roof that was from people having to cut their way out because the water was rising.

"It just makes me thank the Lord because he got my family through it. We didn't have a lot of damage. The moving and being away from home was the hardest part because we didn't know if our house was still okay or not so when we got back and our house just had a little bit of wind damage, we really had to thank the Lord. So many people we know lost all they had."

Once he got back home and back to school, football helped soothe some of the wounds left by the hurricane. He finished the season with 80 tackles including 15 for loss and eight sacks. He recovered three fumbles including one for a touchdown and he also forced two fumbles.

His best game was in the state playoffs against Acadiana. Even though Ehret lost the game, Nevis was a man among boys.

"I had 12 tackles that game and three were behind the line of scrimmage," he said. "I forced two fumbles and had a sack. On the sack I caused a fumble."

He admits that he plays with somewhat of an attitude. When he zeroes in a quarterback, he watches their eyes for the first sign of fear. He doesn't respect the quarterbacks that show fear when he's bearing down on them but he does respect a quarterback that's willing to stand in the pocket and take a hit.

"When a quarterback ducks and don't stand up and take the hit, I just call him chump when I get off him," he said. "I got no respect for chumps that can't stand up and take a hit like a man."

The success he had as a junior left him hungry for more. He's been a dedicated weight room warrior ever since. His bench press is 420 now and he's got his sights set on 435 in the very near future. He squats 600 and holds the school record on the clean and jerk at 350 pounds. The goal is to break his own record and get that number up around 380 this summer.

Nobody doubts that he's the strongest player on the field but what amazes opponents and recruiters is his speed. At a Nike combine in New Orleans earlier in the summer he ran a 4.8, extraordinary speed for a 285-pound defensive tackle, but he knows it could have been better.

"I ran it in my tennis shoes," he said. "They said if I had ran it on something like the indoor practice turf the Saints use and I had wore my cleats that I could have done a 4.7."

The 4.7 number is ever present in his daily workouts. He believes he can improve his speed and get down to a consistent 4.7. He's got a unique training regimen to help him achieve that goal.

"I go to the park and I run sprints with the wide receivers, DBs and running backs," he said. "They beat me, but most of the time I'm toe to toe with them up until the end. Sometimes I beat a couple of them. They know I'm going to run with them pretty good. If I can keep hanging with them I think I can get down to 4.7. That's my summer speed goal."

Obviously, a defensive tackle this big, this strong and this fast is going to attract plenty of recruiting attention. He's committed to Ole Miss and he says that's probably where he will end up signing but meanwhile, he is going to keep an open mind and listen to what other schools are saying. He's also planning to take some trips in the fall.

Other than Ole Miss, the schools he said he likes are Auburn, Alabama, Miami, Florida and Oklahoma. He spoke about the schools on his wish list.

AUBURN: "I like the program and what they do on defense but I haven't taken a trip there so I don't know much about the school or the campus. I like the coaches and they are why I'm going to take the visit."

ALABAMA: "They have some playing time available for me if I go there. They haven't signed any defensive tackles there last year and they'll lose three guys this year."

MIAMI: "All their D-linemen go to the pros. They have a lot of athleticism on the defense and they play with speed. I like that. I like teams that just fly to the ball."

FLORIDA: "Last year they had the number one recruiting team. They look like a contender for a national championship sometime soon. I really want to go to Friday Night Lights if I can get a ride."

OKLAHOMA: "They got a great tradition and they got great coaches. I want to know a lot more about them."

OLE MISS: "Coach (Ed) Orgeron is from Louisiana so we kinda talk the same language. He's coached guys that went to the Pro Bowl. I think he's probably one of the best coaches in college football."

He has a 2.8 grade point average that he wants to improve to 3.0 this year. He's taken the ACT once but says he will take that again in either August or September.

"I think I'll make at least a 20 this time," he said. "I didn't have time to study the first time. I want at least a 20."

He plans to major in business and hopes to minor in sports medicine once he's in college so he can have a personal training business once his playing days are through.

He has set two goals for the 2006 high school football season that believes are achievable.

"My first goal is to be productive every game," he said. "I know I'm going to get double and triple teams every play. I can't let that stop me from being a good player that produces for his team because my team needs me. I also want to do so good that they choose me for the US Army All-American Game in San Antonio. If you make that team that means you really are one of the best."

Fightin Gators Top Stories