The Next In Line at Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas has been winning Florida state championships and mythical national titles over the past decade. The results have caused many of his players to become highly coveted by college coaches. Will linebacker Tyler Drake be the next one?

MADISON - It seems like every season, St. Thomas Aquinas has got more than a few top tier athletes that are going to be headed to BCS schools.

This season is no different, as four-star defensive end Jelani Hamilton (11 plus BCS offers) and three-star running back Dami Ayoola (8 plus BCS offers) are near locks to be playing big-time football next year. Linebacker Tyler Drake isn't there yet, but is on his way.

Over the course of four weeks of spring football, Drake (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) estimates at least a dozen coaches have talked to him or about him to his Aquinas coaching staff this spring, ranging from BCS schools to Ivy League schools.

"For me, it was a real positive experience," Drake told Badger Nation. "I was able to really showcase my talents and it's been great to have the opportunity to talk to all the coaches that have been down."

A lot of the feedback Drake has received has been about his motor, as the linebacker never seems to stop moving on the field until the play is over.

"Coaches have told me that they like my aggressive nature and the way I play," Drake said. "Of the coaches that I've talked to, they've been impressed, and it's really a reflection of the coaching that we have."

One of those coaches was Wisconsin co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge. When Drake visited Wisconsin in February for junior day, he was told by Partridge and UW coach Bret Bielema that the Badgers would be down to evaluate him this spring and potentially give him a scholarship offer.

"He came to one of our scrimmages and he came to our spring game, as well," Drake said. "I got to talk to him and say hello. Right before he left, he congratulated me on a good scrimmage. I am not exactly sure where I am at right now with them because they have one linebacker commit already."

Drake led Aquinas last season with 8.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss as the Raiders went 15-0, won the Florida 5A state championship and won the school's second high school national championship. Drake, who plays as an outside linebacker in Aquinas' 3-4 defense, projects as an outside linebacker in college.

He is still is waiting for that first BCS scholarship offer, but Drake said he has been talking with the coaches at Bowling Green, Connecticut and Yale.

"A lot of these schools said they are close to offering or I am high on their board, but I guess they are taking it slow with my recruiting process," Drake said.

Drake's summer plans include a visit to Miami on Sunday, as the Hurricanes coaching staff attended multiple practices of Aquinas and spoke to Drake, Northwestern the weekend after and take unofficial visits to N.C. State and Wake Forest in July.


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