Here’s what we know about Ray Drew: He’s liable to play college football anywhere.
If you think you know where he’s going to go or you know somebody who says he knows, they don’t know. I know because Drew doesn’t even know.
Drew believes there’s only one man/person/entity who does know, but He hasn’t let him know. Not yet any way.
“Each night before I lay down I pray about it,” said Drew, a licensed minister who is also a 6-foot-5, 253-pound defensive end at Thomas County Central High. “That’s how I make decisions. I just wish The Lord would just come down and say, ‘Ray, you need to go here,’ and then I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. So I just pray each night, you know, ’show me where You want me to go.’ I just don’t want to make the wrong decision. There’s just a lot to look at, a lot to take into consideration.”
Oh, you’ll find plenty of recruiting sites that want to tell you that they know Drew’s top five or top 10. Don’t buy it.
“I’m not working off a certain number right now,” Drew told me Tuesday. “Those are people making assumptions. There are some main schools that they always ask about, so that’s the schools we talk about and that’s the ones they write about. So it’s just assumptions. But it’s not like that. I’m still open to everybody.”
And when Drew says everybody, he means everybody.
The AJC Super 11 selection now has more than 50 scholarship offers. That’s what happens when ESPNU/Scouts Inc. considers you the No. 3 overall prospect in America. He’s a borderline five-star, rated among the top eight at his position by both Rivals and Scout.
Perhaps it’s his unwillingness to say no, his interest in seeing all there is to see or maybe it’s his dependence on Divine Intervention, but Drew hasn’t been able to narrow his focus very much so far. Early on he tended to mention only Southeast schools closest in proximity to Thomasville that were communicating with him most often. But his scope has broadened considerably in recent weeks and months.
Now he has an official visit set for LSU this weekend. He’s planning an early-December trip out west to UCLA with new friend Gabe Wright, a fellow defensive line prospect from Carver-Columbus. He’s talking to another recruiting pal, Stephon Tuitt, about maybe checking out Notre Dame. Michigan came up in an earlier conversation. Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Tennessee remain ever-present on his radar.
And then, of course, there’s Georgia.
More than any other, speculation has attached Drew’s name to that school, which he will officially visit on Oct. 16th (Vanderbilt). That’s because he has often been quoted about his close relationship with head coach Mark Richt, with whom he regularly exchanges thoughts on Scripture.
But the Bulldogs’ 1-3 start and gossipy talk of possible coaching changes has him confused.
“I don’t know; it’s hard to say,” Drew said of his current view of UGA. “There’s really a lot to look at there. I know Coach Richt is a great coach and great guy. I don’t really care about the season, because seasons vary from year to year and one year doesn’t have that much to do with the following year. The only thing that I’m looking at right now is, how are things going to play out up there if they can’t get things rolling? You’re concerned whether some jobs may be on shaky ground or not. That’s probably my biggest thing there.
“I love the UGA coaching staff. They’re all great coaches. Coach [Mike] Bobo, he’s from Thomasville as well and I like him. But you just have to see how things are going to pan out.”
Waiting to see pretty much sums up Drew’s recruitment. If you get the idea he is deliberate in his decision-making, you’d be right. And it’s not like he’s seeking a lot of counsel.
Asked who he was leaning on for advisement, Drew sighed: “Me, myself and I.
“My parents, they don’t want to have any input on it. They say it’s my decision and they just want me to go where I’ll be happy. So other than fans telling me, ‘you need to go here; you need to go here,’ it’s up to me. This is the hardest decision that I’ve had to make in my life so far.”
So Drew aims to take his time. He said his college decision probably won’t get made until sometime around National Signing Day in February, maybe even after.
In the meantime, he’s trying to keep things simple. He’s getting treatment for a strained back, getting some tutoring for a math class and trying to get Thomas County Central to 4-1 in its Homecoming game against Northside-Columbus on Friday.
And each and every night, he prays.