AJC Top 10 prospect Ray Drew hasn’t exactly been burning up the junior days circuit. But he gets a pass. He’s been busy saving souls.
In addition to daily workouts in the Thomas County Central weight room and track practice — he’s a state-ranked thrower — the 6-foot-5, 240-pound, bluechip football prospect is a licensed minister. He works out of Paradise Missionary Baptist Church in Thomasville and spreading the Lord’s word is his life’s passion.
In fact, what little spare time Drew has had of late has been spent preparing for a three-day revival this week in Ochlocknee.
“I’ve done five or six of these,” said Drew, who has been licensed since 2006. “There’s usually a good number of people on hand. I have a group that follows me wherever I go, my parents, my grandparents and some people from our church. And then there’s the people who come out.”
Talking comes easy for the personable Drew, so it would follow that preaching would also. He has given numerous sermons in his young life.
“I’m more into teaching the Word than anything,” Drew said. “But I can bring a little ‘whoop’ to it I guess you could say, you know, get the congregation worked up. I don’t do too much of that but I can make it exciting if need be.”
Drew can play a little football, too. For now at least, that’s what is bringing him national attention.
To date the rangy defensive end with 4.7 speed has upward of 20 scholarship offers. In the last week or so Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Miami, Rutgers, Mississippi State, South Florida and Louisville have joined a list that already included Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Florida State, among others.
So far this year Drew has attended junior days at only Georgia Tech (Jan. 30) and Florida State (Feb. 27). He also took a one-day unofficial visit to UGA on Jan. 31. He plans to go to Florida’s junior day March 27. In two weeks he’ll spend his spring break touring schools in the Carolinas, Virginia and Tennessee.
But he’s in no rush. He said his only timeline with regard to recruiting is “national signing day.”
“I’m just going to play it by ear,” he said.
Exactly what position Drew will play in college is uncertain. He earned his reputation in high school dominating the line of scrimmage while playing out of a stance. He had 72 tackles and six sacks playing that way last season.
But with Tech and Georgia switching to a new 3-4 look, he’s being looked at the Will, or weakside outside linebacker position. And Drew still is not sure how he feels about that.
“I’m used to playing with my hand in the dirt,” he said. “I’ll have to get up there and learn a little more about it and get a feel for it because I’m not used to playing in a stand-up position.”
Asked if playing up or down would be an issue in his recruitment, Drew said, “somewhat.”