AURORA | Hinkley wide receiver Chance Drake is ready to catch on with the Colorado Mesa football program.
Thunderbirds coach Jaron Cohen confirmed Monday that his outstanding 6-foot-3, 235-pound pass catcher made his verbal commitment to the Division II school in Grand Junction, a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
According to Cohen, Drake — who helped Hinkley to a 5-5 record in the fall and a berth in the Class 5A state playoffs for the first time since 2008 — had offers from some other D-II’s and FCS schools, but landed on the Mavericks. He will sign on the National Athletic Letter of Intent signing day for football players on Feb. 5.
“Mesa made it known early that they liked Chance; he had several offers, but he just felt like Mesa was home for him and we’re happy for him,” said Cohen, who coached Drake for one season after taking over the Hinkley program.
Drake’s size caused matchup problems for a lot of Thunderbirds’ opponents and quarterback Austin Ruiz found his favorite target frequently. Drake led Hinkley in all receiving categories with with 37 catches for 554 yards and 14 touchdowns. He caught seven passes for 120 yards and four touchdowns alone in the T-Birds’ first round playoff loss to Columbine.
“He’s a great leaper and he’s got really good hands,” Cohen said of Drake, who is also a key member of Hinkley’s basketball team.
“He runs good routes and has aggression going for the ball, so he’s a tough guys for teams to press and bring down,” Cohen added. “We felt pretty good throwing jump balls to him in the end zone throwing him slants. He had a really good feel for how to run routes and use his body to his advantage.”
Drake also considered Colorado State-Pueblo, Fort Hays State and South Dakota.
The Colorado Mesa football roster from the 2013 season included several Aurora players already: Pedro Esparza, Austin Fleer, Alex Huskey, Taylor Schultz, Ryan Tasker, Elijah Williams and Nick Yeros from Grandview and Cherokee Trail grad Jackson Burrell.
Drake joins a number of Aurora players headed to programs in the RMAC, a list that includes Eaglecrest’s Deyon Sizer, Cherokee Trail’s Thomas Thortvedt, Grandview’s Gabe Cirivello and Regis Jesuit’s Quinn VandeKoppel (Colorado State-Pueblo), Smoky Hill’s Trent Clay and Grandview’s Kolten Johnson and Connor Thrush (Black Hills State) and Grandview’s Sean Kopel (Colorado School of Mines).
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel