Kash Daniel had arguably the best quote of the day, “I have a chip on my shoulder the size of Black Mountain.” But he is not alone.
His roommate, Drake Jackson, loves to tease him, “he’s such an easy target,” but the two have a lot in common. Both come from small Kentucky high schools, both were unheralded until late in the recruiting process, and both rose through the rankings before becoming Army All-Americans.
Even though they didn’t play against top-tier talent for their high schools, they’ve seen plenty of it lately. Drake was the first to take on the big boys at The Opening, the premiere prep camp put on by Nike in Oregon.
As Drake put it, “It’s not just wearing a mouthpiece, doing one-on-ones with these tight t-shirts, we’re wearing shoulder pads and doing run-blocking, we’re pass protecting against these big guys.”
Not only did he get to go up against them, he beat them, early and often. They liked to discount him for his size, but he made them pay, getting into a couple of scuffles. It followed him to the Army Bowl, landing a haymaker on national television.
Julian Rochester is a defensive tackle now enrolled at Georgia. Instead of putting his hands in the chest or shoulder pads, “he’d go right for the facemask every time.” Drake had enough of it, calling him out. Here’s what followed, according to Drake:
“He didn’t (stop). So the next play, he was mad I called him out. He come right out at me and popped me in the face. My helmet was halfway off, I threw it off and punched him. He didn’t do nothing after that.“
Drake isn’t the type of guy that gets pushed around easily, even though he’s smaller. “(I’ve got) A little bit of a chip on my shoulder,” he said.
Drake’s shown that he has the fight in him, but he’s not just swinging haymakers. He’s proven it against the best of the best, getting pancakes and a body slam or two in the Army Bowl. The experience is invaluable heading into his college career.
“It gives me confidence because a lot of those guys can come in and play right away. I think getting a lot of college experience already – at The Opening and the Army Game – it’s really been good for me leading up to this.”