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Healthy after injury, LU's Draine looks for big senior season

Khiry Draine makes a reception and turns to head downfield during Lincoln University's scrimmage Saturday morning at Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City.

Khiry Draine makes a reception and turns to head downfield during Lincoln University's scrimmage Saturday morning at Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City. Photo by Shaun Zimmerman.

Khiry Draine isn’t taking anything for granted.

The Lincoln Blue Tiger wide receiver, and former Jefferson City Jay, remembers the double whammy that ended his 2012 season.

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Khiry Draine

“I actually caught a touchdown pass and they didn’t call it, but it was a touchdown,” Draine said, referencing a last-minute play that would have tied the game against Missouri Southern. “After I caught it I fell directly on my shoulder with all my weight and my collarbone just snapped in half.”

That ended what figured to be a promising season for Draine in just the third game of the year. Then a junior, Draine burst onto the scene with five receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against Lindenwood. He finished his shortened year with eight grabs for 196 yards and the two scores.

“It kind of put things in perspective for me,” Draine said. “Everything can be taken in a split-second, how you’re going so good and everything can be taken.”

Now back at “110 percent,” Draine hopes to pick up where he left off before the injury.

“Of course (I can continue that type of success this season),” he said. “I just have to go out there and be myself and play. I just expect it.

“It’s going to sound crazy, but my goal is 15 touchdowns and at least 1,000 yards receiving.”

Draine will only strengthen an offense that set school records with 2,410 passing yards and 3,734 total yards in 2012.

“We expect big things from Khiry,” Lincoln head coach Mike Jones said. “We have a pretty good wide receiver crew and he’s the guy that’s going to lead us, him and Mo Woodard.”

Added Draine: “There’s a lot of talented guys. We have Mo Woodard, Andre Borney, Devoyius Mark, Percy Turner. We all have our own way we play our game. I’m just going to go out there and be the best Khiry can be.”

An unknown commodity before seeing the field with Lincoln last season, Draine now must produce while earning more attention from opposing defenses.

“Nobody knew about Khiry last year,” Jones said. “Everybody knows about him now. Now he has to figure out how to be a good football player against teams that know what he’s doing.

“He wants to prove to people he’s not just a two- or three-game wonder, he wants to show people he can play well throughout the season.”

After graduating from Jefferson City in 2009, Draine’s path to Lincoln wasn’t exactly direct, bouncing around a couple of junior colleges before making his way back home.

“To be honest with you I didn’t know what I wanted to do out of high school,” he said. “I just knew I wanted to play football. I’ve been to a few places and it didn’t really work out, so I finally came to Lincoln. I felt like this is my home and I’m making the best out of it. They treat me like I’m family, so I love it here.”

Discussions with former Blue Tiger and Jay Herman Hopson eventually led to meeting with Lincoln coaches, who offered him a spot on the team.

“Coming from Jeff City, I have a lot of the same fans, a lot of the same people that are in my corner,” Draine said. “It means a lot to me (to play at home).”

Now back healthy for his senior season, Draine only has one thing in mind.

“I just want to win, man.”

And what can he do to make that happen?

“Catch the ball, finish, catch touchdowns. That’s what I’m here for, that’s what they’re paying me for,” he said with a laugh.

“We’re looking 10 times better than what we were last year. I feel like all our guys are out here blood, sweat and tears and giving it our all because we have a chance to make history this year (with a winning season).”

By the time Lincoln’s season opener Sept. 5 at Lindenwood rolls around, it will have been nearly a year since Draine last saw game action.

Think he’s excited?

“Words can’t explain it,” Draine said. “It’s gotten to a point where I hate talking about it. We talk about it so much and now that it’s finally here, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I just want to go out and play.”

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