by Marshall Harris

DAVIS (CBS13) — Senior Doug Drakeley looks a little different than he did during his freshman year at UC Davis. That might be because his freshman year was nine years ago when the Aggies redshirted him.

A decade older than some of his teammates now, then redshirt freshman defensive lineman Drakeley left UC Davis before he ever played in a game back in 2010.

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“I wasn’t ready for college when I first came here so I knew I wanted to play football and that was about it. I didn’t know anything other than that. So when I came to school, I stopped going to class because I didn’t really care about it,” Drakeley said.

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He then joined the Army, serving in the 1-325 Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division for five years, including a nine-month deployment to Iraq in 2017.

“Something about giving yourself to some something higher than you, something more important than you, and I was like ‘yeah I wanna do that,'” he said.

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Military service doesn’t count against one’s college eligibility clock, so when he was done serving, Drakeley still had one year of eligibility left and made a call to one of his old coaches.

“‘I’m getting out of the Army. I’m this big, I’m this strong. I’d love to play football if you guys give me a chance.’ They were like yeah ‘you know why don’t you show up and we’ll see how it goes,'” Drakeley said.

It went so well, Drakeley made the team as a walk-on and played in the Aggies’ first seven games this season before tearing his ACL. But his impact had already been felt on and off the field.

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Drakeley’s college football career might not be over though. There’s still a chance he’ll get into Saturday’s contest against Sacramento State despite having his torn ACL. It’s just another testament to how tough he really is.

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UC Davis takes on Sac State in the 66th annual Causeway Classic Sunday at Hornet Stadium. If you can’t make it to the game, you can watch it on CW31.