There was a time when Chandler Wolves running back Drake Anderson wasn’t sure if he would have a senior season. “It’s definitely been a journey.” Anderson said. After missing his sophomore season due to hip issues, Anderson received a diagnosis from a doctor that would keep him out for his junior year as well. “I had to get bilateral labrum surgery. I got diagnosed for that last summer. I got the surgery early last year. They had to repair the labra, so they put in these anchors and over time they disintegrate into my skin.”
The low point for Anderson came last season, when he watched from the sidelines as his Wolves teammates won a state championship. “Not being able to play football, I’ve been playing football since a young age. It’s just a part of my lifestyle. It was hard to see my boys out there balling, and I’m just on the sideline.” Anderson said.
That experience helped fuel Drake’s desire to come back. “The recovery process was tedious, but I kept fighting, and kept pushing.” Chandler head coach Shaun Aguano adds, “The love for football has got him back. He had two labrum tears on both hips, so he was immobile for a long time.
He worked very hard in the off season, lifted weights, and ran 7 days a week in trying to get back for his senior year.” Questions still needed to be answered before the comeback would be complete. “Him being out for 2 years and not knowing if he would be fragile coming into the season, but during 7 on 7’s during the summer, we saw Drake’s explosiveness and when it came down to summer camp and fall camp, Drake won over the starting position.” Aguano said.
Anderson has taken that starting role and run with it. Drake has had a breakout season rushing for 1,211 yards, which ranks 3rd in 6A, and 19 touchdowns in 9 games. His 24 total td’s ranks 2nd in 6A. “Coming off the injury I had a lot to prove. This is my last season and I have to put everything out onto the field. What I was able to come through, I surprised myself. I did not expect myself to be here right now. It feels good obviously. Everybody was doubting me. People were expecting me to be done with football, and I’m here to show them, no, I’m here and here to stay.”
Aguano adds, “I might be bias, but I know he is the best running back in the state of Arizona. He is a total package running back, not only out of the backfield catching the football, but running with power and speed. He sees the second level better than anybody. His quickness off of his first step, his visibility and then his overall top end speed. He’s a tough running back, he’s not fragile. I think it makes him a complete running back.”
Colleges were taking the wait and see approach early in the season, to see how Anderson performed and how his body held up after a few games. Now, the running back has offers from Nevada and New Mexico State, and is drawing interest from Arizona, California, and Northwestern amongst others. “I picked up a couple of offers a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like that is a weight off of my shoulders. That was my main goal for this season. I want to play football at the next level, but I’m still focused, still hungry, still working hard.”
If Anderson makes his way to Northwestern next year, he will follow in the footsteps of his father Damien. The elder Anderson finished his career as the school’s all-time leading rusher before playing 4 years in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals. “That’s my man, he’s my go to. He calls me DA 2.0. He teaches me everything he had in his game and more. It’s great.” Drake said.
In a game seen on Yurview Arizona on October 6th, Anderson gained 236 yards and ran for 4 touchdowns. For that performance, the running back was named the Arizona Cardinals player of the week, an award presented to Drake by his father. “That was awesome. It surprised me. That was really cool he was able to come to the school.” Now Anderson is hoping his school can win another state championship, with him helping lead the way. “That’s the plan. That would be amazing. Ever since we won that last year I was happy for my teammates, but I want to be able experience that when I actually contributed to the team. I feel like it would mean a lot more to me.”
Watch the Battle for Arizona Ave as Hamilton will take on Chandler – Friday October 27th at 7:00pm MST/9:00pm CT on Yurview Arizona and streaming live on Yurview.com.