Very few people know where Ray Drew is going to go to college, but John Jenkins claims he does.
The duo hit it off in Miami this past weekend. Drew, a five-star defensive end from Thomas County Central, and Jenkins, a 6-4, 340-pound noseguard at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, both just happened to be on official visits at the University of Miami this weekend.
Despite having not met previously, the two highly-sought-after prospects — who each have Auburn, Georgia and Miami among their finalists — ended up spending the majority of their time together in Coral Gables. Jenkins said they discussed at length the possibility of playing together in college.
“He and I really clicked,” said Jenkins, back at school in Gulfport, Miss., Monday. “He knew about me when I got down there and we just ended up hanging out together and talking a lot. He was just saying how he’d like to play where I play at. He said he wanted to be where I was playing nose so he can make some plays. We were talking about playing playing on the same line.”
Drew lists Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Miami as finalists. Jenkins said he will decide between Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Miami. He will have visited Miami, UGA and Florida on consecutive weekends before national signing day (he visited Auburn in December).
I asked Jenkins if Drew was trying to recruit him toward any one school in particular.
“It wasn’t like that, but I do know where he’s going to go,” said Jenkins, who will be visiting UGA this weekend. “I don’t want to reveal his situation or anything like that, but he knows what he’s going to do. He took me aside and told me his thing.”
Drew said he likes Jenkins both personally and as a football player.
“When you’ve got a four-man front with four down linemen, you’ve got to have two big men that can flush everything to the outside and guys on the outside that can push everything inside,” Drew said. “We were talking about how we could help each other out that way. I need to find another big D-tackle.”
Don’t count out Miami as a possible destination. He said he was “blown away” by the Hurricanes on his visit.
“It was beautiful,” he said. “The hotel I was in had this big balcony. So when I woke up in the morning, I looked to right and there was the ocean, I looked to my left and there was the city and straight ahead was South Beach. Pretty nice.”
He was also impressed with new coach Al Golden. “He seems like a very driven, high-energy guy,” Drew said. “He wants to get Miami back to where they used to be.”
I asked Drew about his sudden interest in Miami, which he previously had not listed among his finalists.
“Miami has always been a school that I’ve looked at; I just never really said anything about it,” said the 6-foot-5, 250-pound U.S. Army All-American. “It’s been in the process for a while. The majority of my father’s family lives in the Miami area, so it’s a place where I feel like I could feel at home.”
Drew now has taken official visits to Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Miami. He has an official visit planned for Clemson this weekend. It’s his fifth and final official.
Even if Drew does know where he’s going to sign, he said he’s not about to announce it anytime soon.
“If not signing day then a few days before,” he said.
For what it’s worth, Drew did tell me he plans to attend the announcements of fellow AJC Fab 50 members Malcolm Mitchell and Jay Rome in Valdosta this Thursday.
“I plan on being there,” he said. “I know those guys and I’m just interested in seeing where they go like everybody else.”
Meanwhile, Jenkins came away from his Miami trip impressed.
“It was a cool weekend,” he said. “I got to meet the coaches and got a chance to see what they had in mind in terms of a plan for me. And I had a chance to see the city, which was great. The weather was beautiful.”
Asked what he expected from his visit to Georgia this coming weekend, Jenkins said, “I’m just expecting to see how well I fit in around there. I’m just going to see what my family thinks and see if they see what I see. I don’t have any high expectations. I just want to go in on an even keel and absorb everything and see what turns out.”
College Recruiting By Chip Towers