From Lion to Bulldog … to a championship

University of Georgia championship player from Ennis High gets thrill of a lifetime

Patty Hullett
Daily Light correspondent
Ennis' Collin Drake (left) poses with two of his teammates on the field after the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Alabama Crimson Tide, 33-18, in Indianapolis on Jan. 10 to win the college football national championship. Drake is a true freshman walk-on quarterback.

Graduating senior from last year (2021) and former standout Ennis Lion quarterback, Collin Drake, had many options as he finished out his schooling as an outstanding scholar athlete.

He was particularly interested in going to the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., as he wants to become a doctor. He took a genuine leap of faith and tried to make his college dreams come true – not only as a gifted student at UGA, but he still had the desire and passion to want to play football there as well.

This talented and dedicated young man set out to do what many athletes never get to experience – and ended up as a part of the collegiate National Championship Georgia football team on Monday evening, January 10, in Indianapolis. All of this was possible because of a head-strong guy that busted his tail to try and make one of the best football programs in the nation as a “walk-on” backup quarterback.

But this is exactly what Collin Drake just did. The Bulldogs got their “A” game going in the second half of the championship game, and the Dogs walked away as the “Champs” over the perennial favorite – Alabama, the notorious Crimson Tide. When it was all said and done, the final score was 33 – 18. And the local boy from Ennis gets a college championship ring to boot!

Drake says in an interview on Wednesday, Jan. 12, “THE WIN felt unbelievable! I am honestly still at a loss for words for how incredible the victory and celebration was. Even though only ‘some’ play, ‘everyone’ on the team has devoted all of the time of practice, workouts, and meetings to make it happen, and it was so great seeing all of our teamwork pay off to win the National Championship.”

“Having my family in Indy.” relays Drake, “aas the most special part of the entire experience. I was so happy to see my father, mother, both sisters, one of my grandfathers, and an uncle.”

He continues, “I’ve been blessed to play on some awesome teams, but to me, my parents and sisters are the greatest team of all. They have been there for me since the start of it all and have been so supportive the whole way.”

Drake says the entire hoopla after the stadium celebration led them back to their hotel at around 2 o’clock in the morning. He explained that everything was closed up by that point, so he was only able to spend a short time with his family, and then a bunch of the football guys hung-out at the hotel until the wee hours of the morning.

He declares, “We definitely haven’t gotten much sleep in the last two days, and that’s for sure.”

The Drake family gathers for a photo from earlier in the season at a Georgia home game. Pictured from left are mother Tricia, Collin, both sisters and father Don Drake.

Where Drake is supposed to be

“I was recently talking with my Dad about how God directs our steps and that’s when things start happening to us as we are faithful to step into what He has called us to do. And I think winning the Championship is such a great picture of faithfulness. About a year ago, I felt like God was calling me to come to Georgia. From getting an offer to play on the team, to getting some scholarship money, and just my love for UGA and the college town of Athens, made me feel that it was clearly the direction I should go and that this should be my place and my time to be there.”

“However, it was a pretty uncomfortable decision because it was so far away from home and I didn’t know anyone here when I first arrived. But now I look back a year later, and I can definitely say that winning the top prize in the world of college football is evidence that this is where I am meant to be. God has blessed me in so many ways ever since I’ve come to Georgia. This game was another fantastic blessing that I am so thankful for – and something that I will never forget.”

Drake shares that his first semester was everything he had hoped for in a wonderful college experience. He feels like he’s worked as hard as he can academically and in his sport. He admits that mixing the two are somewhat difficult, but expresses that it is so rewarding to reap the benefits of his diligent effort.

The outgoing young man says, “I have gotten to become friends with people that I never thought I would. And after a first semester, I now have a good sense of community, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me in the future.”

Drake explains, “I’m not sure if being a part of the winning team is the absolute best moment of my life, but it will definitely be up there. It’s something that not many people have done and it can never be taken away from me, and for that, I’m very blessed. I’ll be talking about this my whole life, and I can’t describe it well, but I will always remember the feeling I had on the field after the game ended. It was something special to keep for the rest of my life.”

Drake concludes, “To everyone back in Ennis…… It has been such a blessing to have your support throughout this journey. It has been awesome keeping up with all of the coaches and Lion players, and I miss Ennis because of how amazing the people always are. You guys are a tremendous blessing!”