FLOWERY BRANCH — Daniel Drummond was a game changer all season for Flowery Branch.
Whether it was running the football or being the focal point of a big defensive play, the Georgia Tech verbal commit was right at the forefront of the Falcons’ run to the Class AAA state title game.
"He’s an impact player," Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw said. "Division I players have that kind of impact on a team."
For his efforts, Drummond is The Times 2008 All-Area Football Player of the Year.
His stats show the versatility he provided for the Falcons down the stretch. Drummond finished with 1,102 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Then on defense, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound future Yellow Jacket chalked up 72 tackles (13 tackles for a loss), nine sacks and four quarterback pressures from his spot at defensive end.
At no other time did he better illustrate the way he could take control of a game than against Baldwin in the state quarterfinals.
Drummond entered the game on offense in the second half and rushed for 90 yards and three touchdowns to send Flowery Branch to the state semifinals for the first time in school history. That’s even more impressive when you consider he was hampered by a separated shoulder late in the regular season.
"It was pretty awesome to be able to step in and run the ball down the field against one of the best defenses in the state," Drummond said.
Shaw usually held Drummond from running the ball until the second half. He wanted to wear down the opposing defense first, then let his big running back have at them.
"He just stepped into that game, and they couldn’t stop him," Flowery Branch defensive end Izaan Cross said. "That totally changed the ball game."
The next week, Drummond put the Falcons on his back again with a career-high 258 yards and three touchdowns against LaGrange, securing a spot for Flowery Branch in the state finals. That game also solidified a personal milestone with Dummond crossing the 1,000 yard mark, a goal he had etched in his mind when the season started.
Drummond says he’d prefer staying on the offensive side of the ball once he moves on to Georgia Tech, in what they call the B-back position. Even though Georgia Tech already has a returning starter at running back, junior Jonathan Dwyer, Drummond feels like he’s ready to step in and be a viable option right away as the backup.
Drummond would certainly provide a change of pace with his size compared to the 6-foot, 225-pound Dwyer.
Drummond committed immediately to Georgia Tech when he was offered a scholarship by coach Paul Johnson in July. He likes the fact that the Yellow Jackets run the triple option offense, and the proximity to home in South Hall.
"Georgia Tech was the last school that offered me a scholarship," Drummond said. "And I knew that is where I wanted to play."
One of Drummond’s strengths is his ability to play on both sides of the football if needed. He’s played running back, defensive end and linebacker as long as he can remember. He even played quarterback in elementary school in the North Gwinnett youth league. Drummond moved to West Hall when he was in middle school.
Between now and the time that he enrolls at Georgia Tech, his biggest emphasis is to work on his speed and building muscle mass. Drummond uses a bodybuilding system for weightlifting during the football offseason, which is built around doing slower repetitions with lighter weights to build dense muscle and help prevent injury. Drummond also hopes to repeat this season as the state champion in the discus, which he won by 5-4 last season.
Drummond has a unique way of gauging his weight during the offseason. It isn’t with scales or looking in the mirror. He does it with a basketball in his hands.
"I know I’m too big if I can’t dunk a basketball anymore," Drummond said.