Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church for Charles Edward Drake III, a former NFL running back, who died on July 5. He was 30.

Born to Elizabeth and Charles Drake on Sept. 25, 1981, he was known to many as Charles, but his family and friends affectionately called him “Chuck,” a nickname given to him by his best friend Marcell, who preceded him in death. Drake, at an early age accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, and was an active member at Park Windsor Baptist Church.

Drake attended Transfiguration School, Audubon Jr. High and graduated from Westchester High School in 1999. As a youth he loved sports and played football, baseball and track for Baldwin Hills Park. Drake was awarded the Kevin Copeland Award and ultimately won his first football championship against archrival, The Demos, in 1994. Drake also participated in football and track for the Westchester Comets.

The athlete earned numerous accolades as an All-City and All Star running back and still holds the record for running yardage at Westchester. His athletic ability and his scholastic aptitude earned him a full scholarship to the University of Michigan.

At the university Drake majored in kinesiology/sports marketing and played football as a Michigan Wolverine. He was awarded the Robert P. Ufer award, one of four prestigious awards for seniors at Michigan. His exceptional athletic ability was rewarded by being drafted in 2003 by the New York Giants.

Drake played professionally with the N.Y. Giants, the Detroit Lions, NFL Europe (Rein Fire & Frankfurt Galaxy), and was selected to play in the NFL Europe World Bowl Championship game with the Galaxy. He also played with the European Austrian League (Hohenem Blue Devils).

In a statement his loved ones said, “Our family feels extremely blessed to have a grandson, son, brother, nephew, cousin, uncle, and father of his magnitude. Words will never express how deeply we love him. We will greatly miss him. We will cherish his memory forever. Although difficult as it may be, we will go forward, together, to honor his memory, knowing he lovingly smiles down upon us and he is pleased.”

Drake is survived by his parents; Charles and Elizabeth; sisters, LaTanya and Sonae, his daughter Milaan and his son Charles IV; one nephew and two nieces.