September 23, 2021
"Changing Lives, Improving Communities"

Diamond In The Rough: Derrick Graham Jr.

Derrick Graham Jr. is a class of 2022 running back out of University Lab High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is 5’11” and weighs 205 pounds. Graham is a strong, decisive runner with excellent balance and quickness. He hits the hole hard and is a good blocker with solid pass catching ability. He was second team All-District last season. He also added that he is honored and blessed to have offers from Virginia, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, South Alabama, New Mexico, Southern University, and several Power 5 and Group of 5 schools showing real interest.

CHECK OUT GRAHAM’S HIGHLIGHTS HERE

How would you describe your season?

Fast!! The season was really fast and crazy. Missing those first games, having to wear a mask, and not being able to do as much as a team has been crazy. Plus, not being able to have many fans and recruits at games has been wild.

Did you have any specific goals for this season? If so, how is that coming along?

After missing three games and rushing for 900 yards last year, my goals coming into this year were to rush for 2,000 yards and have at least 500 receiving yards. But then Covid -19 came and messed things up altering the season. But with the few games that I have had, I’m doing pretty good but could be better.

How did you even get into football? Is there anything specific that motivated you to keep playing?

How it all started and I got into football was when I actually stopped at a Walmart to get something while on the way to go look at this horse I was thinking about buying. Outside the store, they had this sign up for football. Being that I had never played football before, my youth coach Dan said “Man if you come to play for us we will even let you bring your horses” so when he said that it was a no-brainer I was going to start playing. I started out playing running back first and then got moved to quarterback. The thing that kept me motivated and my “WHY” is my family. I look at it as doing something I love to do and as a way, I can hopefully help and provide for my family so they don’t have to worry about anything anymore.

What has football taught you about yourself or life?

Football has taught me to live and learn from your mistakes because if I mess up on a play I have to learn from it and correct it quickly. It has also taught me a lot about discipline. Now that I am old enough to drive myself to practice, being to the school on time for treatment and practice is important. My dad always says “To be on time is to be early and Being late you are forgotten about.”

What’s your favorite thing about your position?

The favorite thing about my position as a running back is to continue to perfect the position to have no flaws. That is one position a lot of people can play, but you have to be special for it. That’s why I pride myself on being a complete running back (block, catch, run).

What would you say are your main strengths on the field?

My main strength on the field would be always competing at a high level the whole game for being available in the run game, pass game, or protection game. No matter if we winning or losing giving my all each play will show all my strengths

How would your coaches and teammates describe you?

My coaches and teammates would describe me as hard-working, loves doing what he does, coachable, cool, chill guy, and sometimes funny.

What’s your favorite thing about playing football in Louisiana?

Originally I am from Mississippi, I moved here when I was six years old. It’s just something about playing in Louisiana, it’s just totally different dawgs and that savage swag we have that makes it fun playing here in Louisiana.

Three words to describe yourself?

I describe myself as being kind, hardworking, and reliable.

What hobbies do you have outside of sports?

My other hobbies are riding horses and team roping in rodeos. Riding horses is how I go the name “Rodeo”.

Are there any college or NFL athletes that you look up to or try to model your play style after?

I look at a lot of different running backs in college and NFL like Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, DeAndre Swift, and Najee Harris. I like to pick off a lot of players and make that a part of my game also. Danny Johnson and Russell Gage are two Louisiana players that I train with during the summer and those two guys are great for working and talking too.

What is one thing could you not go a day without?

One thing I could not go a day without is my T.V., it is my relaxing time. I need that.