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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.