Ten@10: Ray Drew still being coy about Friday’s decision (updated)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Ray Drew may be a licensed minister, but he’s having a devil of a good time keeping people guessing about his impending college decision. The 5-star defensive end is going to unveil his choice on Friday morning in the gym at Thomas County Central High School. Which team he will choose, well, everybody thinks they know but nobody really does.

Publicly Drew likes to throw out hints that he’s headed to Auburn, such as the text he sent me Sunday night that read “WDE” (that’s “War Damn Eagle,” as in the Auburn battle cry, for the un-indoctrinated). But Georgia fans insist Drew is so overly outspoken about the Tigers that it has to mean it’s a smokescreen for his real intention, which is to become part of the Bulldogs’ Dream Team. But then Drew will throw up a Facebook status that confuses the issue even more, such as the one he posted late Monday evening.

“There will be a huge surprise on Friday . . . no Auburn, no Georgia, no LSU . . . time to shock the world baby!,” he wrote.

Based on our conversation earlier Monday night, that would mean he’s picking Miami. Drew told me then that his four final choices on Friday will be Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Miami (he eliminated Clemson after his official visit there this past weekend). But, again, can we buy that he’d offer such an obvious hint four days before his supposed big reveal? Should we believe that he’d choose Florida or Tennessee or USC, some of the schools he talked about late into the process but never actually visited?

Here’s what we do know: Drew’s announcement is tentatively scheduled for sometime in the 9-9:30 a.m. block at his high school. Drew said he hasn’t decided yet what he’ll do or exactly what hats he might choose from or if he’ll choose hats at all. Details are still being worked out but he wants the entire student body and faculty to come out for the announcement. I plan to be there, too, assuming I’ll be able to find a seat.

2. Speaking of Drew, No. 2 in the AJC Fab 50,  and his invitation to join UGA’s “Dream Team,” I informed him of the AJC’s No. 9 player, Xzavier Ward, committing to the Bulldogs on Monday. You may have read part of his reply on Twitter. Here it is in full:

“Hmmm. I’m proud for him. I’m glad he found out where he wanted to be. I’m sure he made the best decision for him and his family. Now I’m looking forward to going against him one Saturday.”

3. Another potential Dream Team member Georgia is desperate to land is Isaiah Crowell, the AJC’s No. 1-rated prospect. Crowell took his official visit to UGA this past weekend and is headed to Auburn for his final trip this Friday. Crowell’s silence since that visit has been deafening. He hasn’t talked to anybody that I know of, and certainly not me. Evasive to start with, it looks like the Carver-Columbus tailback has completely shut it down now as far as interviews. Which is fine. It’s an extremely difficult decision he’s trying to make between Alabama, Auburn and Georgia from now until national signing day on Feb. 2.

But my attempts to reach Isaiah did land me an opportunity to speak to his father, Andrew Crowell. The baratone-voice patriarch of the Crowell clan is a man of few words who clearly is not easily impressed by or does not get rattled about this whole recruiting thing.

  • On the official visit to UGA this past weekend he said: “It was nice. All the schools we’ve been to are pretty nice.”
  • On what school he may favor at this point: “I don’t really care. We’re leaving that up to Isaiah. I’m just looking at him finishing his education and going where they can keep him in line and where there’s a good mentor for him. Where and when he’ll play on the field, I’m not really paying attention to all that.”
  • On the final decision: “We talk to him about it, but it’s going to be his decision. He’s the one that’s gonna be living there so it’s up to him.”

Whatever young Crowell decides, we won’t find out until national signing day. Carver coach Dell McGee said all of his seniors that are signing with colleges will do so as a team that Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the community center near the school. Gabe Wright (Auburn or Tennessee), Quincy McKinney (South Carolina commit) and Riyadh Jones (undecided) will among the Tigers to sign letters-of-intent that day with FBS schools.

4. It won’t go down as a new commitment but Georgia coach Mark Richt pretty much re-recruited Zach DeBell back to the Bulldogs over the last several days. The big offensive tackle from Tarpon Springs, Fla., was pretty shaken up by Stacy Searels’ decision to leave UGA to coach the offensive line at Texas. But Richt and his assistant coaches managed to smooth things over with an in-home visit last week and several phone calls since then.

“I was very disappointed in Coach Searels’ departure,” Debell told me in an e-mail. “He was a big part of why I chose Georgia. Coach Richt came to my home along with Coach [Bryan] McClendon and Coach [Warren] Belin and explained that he will have an offensive line coach in place shortly. Coach McClendon will be back in Florida next week and I may get to meet him then. I am eager to do so.”

Meanwhile, Texas lost one of its offensive line commitments during the transition (5-star tackle Christian Westerman switched to Auburn). I asked DeBell, a four-star prospect and a U.S. Army All-American, if he had been approached by the Longhorns.

“I have no interest in Texas,” he wrote. “I want to be a Bulldawg. I know Mark Richt will get someone really good.”

5. Georgia landed a somewhat unexpected late offensive line commitment from Colquitt County’s Xzavier Ward on Monday and it very well may have landed two. But ultimately Taylor Gadbois decided “to stay with my word” and stick with his commitment to Miami. The 6-foot-7, 295-pound tackle from East Paulding said he was “stressed out” after meeting with Richt and other staff members for an extended period at his school on Monday.

“They said Xzavier had committed and they wanted me to commit, too,” said Gadbois, who like Ward was offered a scholarship Sunday morning. “I told them I couldn’t do that to Miami, that I was a man of my word. I mean, I didn’t want to be rude to Coach Richt, because he’s a good man. But if it came down to Miami and Georgia, I was going to choose Miami because that was my dream school. And they had scholarships when they first started recruiting me. They just didn’t offer me one.”

So it would appear the Bulldogs are in the market for one more offensive lineman. The main target for that spot appears to be Antonio Richardson. The four-star prospect from Nashville, Tenn., was an official visitor this past weekend and reportedly loved it. But he has long been considered a heavy lean to the home-state Tennessee Volunteers.

6. The hot rumor this past weekend was that Southern Cal commitment Kent Turene of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., had committed to Georgia while on his official visit in Athens. One fan site actually had a story to that effect posted for a short while. Turene quickly shot it down via text message. “I don’t know where that came from,” he told me later. “I’m still committed [to the Trojans].”

That said, he really enjoyed his visit and really likes the Bulldogs. He was supposed to make an official visit to Tennessee immediately afterward but that trip got canceled.

“Georgia’s been recruiting me since last spring,” said the 6-3, 225-pound athlete. “I’m from Savannah originally and I’ve always liked Georgia. I committed to SC and Georgia never stopped recruiting me. They’ve just always been there and I feel very comfortable around all those coaches and players.”

So what might swing him to Georgia? “The depth chart at linebacker,” he said. “They don’t have a lot there right now. There’s a lack of depth, so the opportunity is there. They’re recruiting me for inside linebacker but they say I could play both.”

Turene, who is now listed as a “soft verbal” to USC on most lists, is going to visit Texas Tech this weekend. He said he’ll decide between Georgia, Nebraska, Texas Tech and Southern Cal on national signing day.

7. With 23 commitments — including three this past Sunday — Georgia Tech appears to be filling up fast. But the Yellow Jackets remain in the hunt for some elite recruiting prospects. They have not given up on Monroe Area’s Stephon Tuitt, the five-star defensive end who was committed to them for about 36 hours last week before re-committing to Notre Dame. And they may actually lead at this point for four-star defensive tackle Darian Cooper of Hyattsville, Md. Cooper visited Iowa this past weekend and is also looking hard at Michigan State in addition to the Yellow Jackets.

I’ve had interviews with two of the three new Jackets’ commitments and already posted a story on Miami linebacker Nick Menocal. I’ll be profiling linebacker Kyle Travis of South Forsyth later today.

8. In case you missed it, Michael Carvell had a couple good posts this week about Class AAAA state champion Chattahoochee. He reports that Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino stopped by Chattahoochee about two weeks ago to talk about defensive end Barron Dixon, who ended up committing to Mississippi State. Chattahoochee coach Terry Crowder asked Petrino for a few extra minutes of his time.

“I told Coach Petrino, ‘I’m not letting you leave here until you look at Kane Whitehurst,’” Crowder recalled. “I showed him some film and he just kind of fell in love with the kid.”

Whitehurst committed to Arkansas on Monday. The 5-11, 172-pound cousin of former Clemson great Charlie Whitehurst caught 84 passes for 1.378 yards and scored 23 touchdowns, including four on kickoff returns.

Carvell also reports that Class AAAA Player of the Year Tim Byerly is getting late interest from Michigan, among other schools. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound quarterback is also fielding calls from Duke, Wake Forest and other ACC schools.

9. Herschel Walker told our Jeff Schultz he wants to see more Georgia kids going to UGA, and he’d like to help make it happen.

“One of the things that’s happened is we’ve been losing so many kids coming out of high school to out of state college,” he said of the Bulldogs’ recent struggles. “They’re not going to the University of Georgia, and I’ve been sort of hurt by it. I’ve talked to Coach Richt and I’ve spoken to Greg McGarity and I’ve told them I’d like to get involved and help them in any way I can. But I’m not sure what the NCAA would allow me to do.”

10. THIS & THAT: Georgia State received its eighth commitment of the 2011 class over the weekend from Walton RB Kyle Vorster. Vorster (6-0, 207) rushed for about 1,800 yards this past season, according to coach Rocky Hidalgo. . . . The Panthers also may have gotten a commitment from DB Demazio Skelton of Georgia Military College, though that is unconfirmed at this writing. . . .

Lee County quarterback Justin Walker — who established a state record with 591 yards passing in a single game this past season — accepted a scholarship offer to West Georgia on Monday. Walker (6-3, 180, threw for more than 3,000 yards and 40 TDs this past season. Many of those passes went to Georgia wide receiver commitment Sanford Seay. . . . North Cobb linebacker Troy Gray and Sandy Creek defensive back Bruce Dukes committed to UCF. . . . Tucker running back Bashr Coles, the Class AAAA Region 6 offensive player of the year. Bashr, received a scholarship offer from UAB late last week. He adds that to offers he already has from Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, Indiana State, Western Carolina, Presbyterian and Georgia Southern. Coles visited Georgia Southern last weekend. . . .

S. Thomas Coleman reports that Westlake defensive back Ronnie Harris expects to make his decision this week. After visiting the Air Force Academy over the weekend, he will choose between Air Force, Harvard, Notre Dame, Standford and Tennessee. Harris (5-10, 175), who was was visited last week in his home by Stanford’s new head coach, David Shaw, will run track this spring to improve upon his 4.40 time in the 40. “He wants to be running 4.3 by the time he lands on campus,” said Harris’ father, Ronnie Harris Sr.

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog

472 comments Add your comment

state

January 25th, 2011
10:20 am

First… again

B.G

January 25th, 2011
10:22 am

2nd…….. Go UGA

Dawg Fud

January 25th, 2011
10:26 am

“Shock the world” may be a bit of an overstatement but I understand that he is excited.

Good luck, Ray. Regardless of the school you choose to attend I wish you the best and I hope you capitalize on this magnificent opportunity.

GO DAWGS

Well said

January 25th, 2011
10:27 am

If Chip wasn’t late posting, I might’ve been first.

D A DoubleU G

January 25th, 2011
10:31 am

My view on Drew…..

A) He does choose UGA, and I instantly love the kid because of his ability to toy with the media, taking all the seriousness out of recruiting. (This is the most fun these kids have ever had, and it’s refreshing to see somebody not demand the spotlight all the time, and truly have fun with it)

B) He choses Auburn, and I am MORE than OK with it, since he has made it well known the last several weeks he has ZERO interest in being a Dawg. UGA needs kids that truly want to be here, not ones that have settled on the idea of being here.

Whoever gets him, will be a lucky program. Just hope he choses choice A.

GO DAWGS!!!!!

D A DoubleU G

January 25th, 2011
10:32 am

Blackoutanyone?

January 25th, 2011
10:33 am

D A DoubleU G

January 25th, 2011
10:34 am

Also, my eyes nearly popped out of my head last night when i saw Chip Towers’ tweet about Xzavier Ward committing to the Dawgs.

I was about 90% sure he was Georgia Tech bound.

B.G

January 25th, 2011
10:34 am

Chip what are our chances with Kent Turene and Antonio Richardson? Which one do you think we get if not both in your opinion?

Seminole Red

January 25th, 2011
10:37 am

We own the State of Georgia. You Dawgs fans need to remember we come into Georgia and take the players we really want. How many of your guys will be on the police reports or kicked out of school by the NEW AND IMPROVED, FOOTBALL STUDYING, REFOCUSE MARK RICHT.

All that needs to happen is for Kirby Smart to go one of the other SEC schools and for UGA to man up and schedule us(FSU) and Mark Richt can then get beat by 3 of Nick Saban’s boys.

Every year the same thing, great recruiting classes, a spring and summer of arrest, and fall of loss after loss after loss, assitant coaches fired and a AD to scared to pull the trigger on sending the former great FSU OC back to the press box to call plays for a real head coach.

Blackoutanyone?

January 25th, 2011
10:38 am

Chip Towers… just saw your January 24th, 2011 8:55 pm
Blackoutanyone? Not to needle you or anything but the NCAA passed the 28/25/85 rule last year with Alabama in mind.

Tushay

tide roll

January 25th, 2011
10:38 am

Awsome report Chip, Thanks

MikeP

January 25th, 2011
10:38 am

Who did UGA miss out on that opened a spot for Ward?

North Georgia Dawg

January 25th, 2011
10:39 am

Move Bryan Mclendon to Wide Receivers Coach and hire Herschel Walker to coach the running backs. Who wouldn’t want to be coached by him? He’s a perfect fit!

B.G

January 25th, 2011
10:39 am

Chip also what about rumors concerning A.J. Johnson that is he looking around and is it UGA he is looking at?

RRTDawgs

January 25th, 2011
10:39 am

Yea Blackout most of the insiders have going to UGA like you said before about Dickson he has been behind the scenes recruiting for UGA the FB stuff is to throw everyone off he does not anything to leak out that he is silent commit UGA coaches said he play DE or OLB .

Chip Towers

January 25th, 2011
10:39 am

B.G.: Personally I’d say they’re a little better with Turene than Richardson, but we’ll see.

Dawg Fud

January 25th, 2011
10:39 am

Obviously Isaiah would be a great addition to the Dawgs. Sounds like he has a great family to guide and support him through this process.

My gut tells me he will go to Bama. He will make the decision that is right for him and I wish him much success. He will be fun to watch regardless of where he plays.

German Shepherd Dawg

January 25th, 2011
10:40 am

Hey DA,

You’re more magnanimous than me. After watching Fairley hit Aaron Murray late a half dozen times, I can’t stand Auburn. I’d rather he went out of conference if he doesn’t become a DAWG.

That all said, I’d be shocked if he isn’t. Calling Jenkins to see how he liked UGA while on an official visit to Clemson pretty much convinced me.

But, I could be wrong.

RxDawg

January 25th, 2011
10:40 am

“Now I’m looking forward to going against him one Saturday.”

Noticed how he said one Saturday, not on Saturdays. He’s refering to the G-day game =D

Tampa

January 25th, 2011
10:40 am

Mike P. Strickland has decided to no longer play football

H-Town Dawg

January 25th, 2011
10:40 am

Jenkins, Drew, and Crowell. Come on down and join the Dawgs. Dream Team, baby! DREAM TEAM!

Dawg Fud

January 25th, 2011
10:40 am

MikeP,

Tanner Strickland is finished playing football.

rightofcenter

January 25th, 2011
10:41 am

IS anyone else out there sick of this whole Ray Drew BS? Get over yourself young man. You need to re-read the Bible and study up on humility and integrity.

rduck

January 25th, 2011
10:41 am

best of luck to all of these kids in their decisions. I really hope Cooper will come to Tech and give us some good size and speed we need for the 3-4. Seems that we are getting closer and closer to landing some of these highly regarded prospects. Hopefully we can fill the class with some solid players and have a decent recruiting class for next year. Still not giving up on Tuitt just yet. I just hope that wherever he signs, that it is his decision and that his heart is in it. Best of luck to both instate schools. Finish strong! Go Tech!!!

Riley

January 25th, 2011
10:41 am

@MikeP – Tanner Strickland graduated and decided not to play another season, even though he had another year of eligibility. That opened up a scholarship OL spot.

German Shepherd Dawg

January 25th, 2011
10:42 am

Chip,

I thought if Jenkins and Drew both came, there weren’t any more scholarships now that Ward has committed. How can they sign Turene or Richardson if they get those two?

RambleOn84

January 25th, 2011
10:42 am

Ray Drew is annoying…he thinks he’s being cute, but it’s getting pretty old. Just make a decision and quit being a clown.

Well said

January 25th, 2011
10:44 am

@German Shep…UGA has 26 slots available (after Stickland left) and currently 22 commits. 4 more available then.

Einsteindawg

January 25th, 2011
10:45 am

Chip…one of your best articles; thanks for all the info. What are our odds of landing Jenkins and where did he play high school ball? Thanks!

BigTimeTECHFan

January 25th, 2011
10:46 am

There will be a huge surprise on Friday . . . no Auburn, no Georgia, no LSU . . . time to shock the world baby!,” he wrote.

GEORGIA TECH

I like Drew, that would be so sweet.

TXDawg

January 25th, 2011
10:46 am

JNewbergESPN Jamie Newberg
Hearing some rumblings that 5-star RB Isaiah Crowll (Columbua, Ga) may not make it in for his official visit to AU this weekend. Stay tuned

Worm

January 25th, 2011
10:46 am

Chip, Is Ronnie Harris the son of the former dawg player?

dap01

January 25th, 2011
10:46 am

Great article, thanks for the update. Any word on how much Auburn is offering Drew? What about Crowell?

If Crowell’s father is serious about finding a mentor for his son, that pretty much eliminates Auburn and Alabama.

Les W. Moore

January 25th, 2011
10:47 am

At this point, Ray Drew deserves UGA and vice versa. Both are more concerned with February wins than those pesky ones in the Fall.

And really folks, does it matter who the mutts sign?

RxDawg

January 25th, 2011
10:47 am

8. That’s an awesome story Chip. Good for coach Crowder to market his player. Sometimes some really good kids (on and off the field) get overlooked. I bet Petrino had to laugh that he went in looking for an apple and left with an orange.

RRTDawgs

January 25th, 2011
10:48 am

Hey naganole what do you think .

mmgtfan

January 25th, 2011
10:48 am

Drew is going to UGA. Seriously. I know it, he knows it, hell anyone with half a brain knows it. His acting is on par with a low budget porno

Seminole Red

January 25th, 2011
10:50 am

Genuine Dawg Lover

January 24th, 2011
10:55 pm
As reported in the Alexandria Times, Jarrod Massey who recently pled guilty to the massive vote by scheme is being housed in a private facility used in previous years by witnesses used in federal cases to indict Bernard Madoff, Stephen Rosen,Vicky Palaez, Abraham AL-Haidi cases to further build cases against each defendent.

Jarrod Massey has been reported to have provided key verification of evidence regarding multiple aspects of the vote buying scheme and transfers of funds to various retirement funds relating to Colonial Bank and Auburn University.

I saw this posted this morning and did a little research on the Alexandria Virginia news and they did verify the transfer of Massey to the area. Makes you go UMM!

gcs

January 25th, 2011
10:50 am

Wrong, Blackoutanyone?

The NCAA passed the 28/25/85 rule last year with Ole Miss in mind. it’s called the “Houston Nutt Rule”.

.

BigTimeTECHFan

January 25th, 2011
10:50 am

5-star tackle Christian Westerman switched to Auburn

WOW!

RTR22

January 25th, 2011
10:51 am

RRTDawgs. Nice sentence structure. UGa edumacated?

Preston

January 25th, 2011
10:51 am

Sounds like Seminole is still bitter about Richt leaving Tallahassee! LOL! You guys can’t even win the weak ass ACC so STFUB! Still LMAO at this loser!

VA DAWG

January 25th, 2011
10:51 am

Ray Drew deserves to do this to fanbases….all the people who stalk these kids on facebook or twitter deserve to be led astray. These are just kids and people need to give them the opportunity to enjoy the process without being harrassed constantly. Good luck Ray, hope you land in Athens. Go DAWGS!

Les W. Moore

January 25th, 2011
10:52 am

How is Crowell going to be any different than King or Ealy or any other leghumping RBs save Rita Moreno? He’ll become an underachiever, just like the others, and mutt fans will be riding his butt, just like the others.

Dream Team? Yes I’d say so if Richt wasn’t there. Yes.

VA DAWG

January 25th, 2011
10:52 am

Meant to read “deserves the right to,” sorry.

RxDawg

January 25th, 2011
10:53 am

Actually, if UGA did hire Walker then they should put him on the S&C team. Good lord he’s almost 50 and he looks like a body building 20 year old. Walker is a rock and Bo Jackson has let himself eat a few too many times at his restaurants. Bo does Hippo!

confused

January 25th, 2011
10:54 am

west georgia college and state university? where is that? or do you mean the university of west georgia?

Preston

January 25th, 2011
10:55 am

“for UGA to man up and schedule us(FSU)”, haven’t heard of any invitations from FSU to play us either. Grow up idiot and stop bragging on FSU until they do something worth bragging on. BTW, didn’t see any mention of FSU in this story. Why are you here anyway?

dawgfan365

January 25th, 2011
10:55 am

Seminole red lets not talk about players getting arrested the dumb a$$ players at florida state are known for breaking into cars and apartments. This yr yall had a lb get arrested for breaking into cars on campus right outside of the athletic complex how dumb is that? How dumb can you be to get so wasted that you fall asleep in a mcdonalds drive thru! Florida state criminoles!