Ray Drew calls out prospects to join him on UGA’s ‘Dream Team’ (UPDATED)

THOMASVILLE – Legendary NFL defensive end Michael Strahan, Ray Drew’s self-described “mentor,” couldn’t make it. But Randall Godfrey and David Pollack did. And their presence at the 5-star defensive end’s college announcement here at Thomas County Central High School Friday spoke volumes about the impact and reach this high school football player has had.

From left to right, David Pollack, Randall Godfrey and Ray Drew. (Photo by Chip Towers, ajc.com)

From left to right, David Pollack, Randall Godfrey and Ray Drew. (Photo by Chip Towers, ajc.com)

Drew chose the University of Georgia over a stack of more than 50 scholarship offers. And that’s one of the reasons Godfrey and Pollack, each former NFL and UGA players, were here. But, they said, it was not the only reason.

“I spoke at a banquet for In The Game Magazine a while back and presented him with an award,” said Godfrey, who hails from nearby Lowndes County. “And the first time he got up and spoke, I was like, “Man, look at this guy!” I was impressed. So we kept in touch after that and I knew I needed to support him regardless of what decision he made. But I’m glad he’s a Georgia guy because this kid has the works. I’m talking about leadership, everything. He’s going to make an impact, not only on the field but off the field.”

Said Pollack: “I just started to get to know him and to speak to him and, my God, I’ve never met a kid like this. I mean, 18 years old, to have your head on this straight, I mean, it’s kind of scary. I was kind of similar to him but I wasn’t as mature. I was growing in my faith and I was learning, but this kid is grounded and he has goals. You listen to his goals and what he wants to do, it’s pretty outstanding. I look forward to working with him anyway I can.”

Drew is a licensed minister who preaches regularly at Paradise Missionary Baptist Church and at various churches across South Georgia. He’s also a consensus 5-star prospect, the No. 1-rated player in America at his position by Rivals.com and the No. 2 player in Georgia per the AJC Fab 50.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end will play outside linebacker at Georgia, the same position as Justin Houston, the all-star junior who just departed for the NFL. Drew’s commitment.

“I actually dreamed about this last night,” Drew said in a one-on-one interview after his announcement. “It actually took place before it actually took place. I was a little nervous but not too much. It’s just a relief, like something really heavy has been lifted up off of me.”

Drew’s commitment continues quite a bit of late recruiting momentum for the Bulldogs particularly in South Georgia. Just last week they plucked tight end Jay Rome, the AJC’s No. 3 players, and athlete Malcolm Mitchell, No. 6, out of Valdosta. On Monday they nabbed No. 9, offensive tackle Xzavier Ward, out of Colquitt County.

So now Georgia has secured the numbers 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11 and 12 players in the state. And they’re a finalist for No. 1. Running back Isaiah Crowell of Carver-Columbus will announce his decision between Georgia and Alabama on Wednesday, national signing day.

Georgia is also in position to nab some out-of-state talent down the stretch. Jeoffrey Pagan, the No. 4-ranked defensive end in the country, de-committed to Clemson on Thursday and is said the favor the Bulldogs. They’re also in the lead for nose guard John Jenkins of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, the sixth-ranked junior college player in America.

Drew called out to those players to follow him to UGA.

“I just want to say to Jay at the end of his announcement, I heard your call,” Drew said. “And now I’ve given an answer. Isaiah Crowell, we’re waiting on you; Antonio Richardson, we’re waiting on you; John Jenkins, we’re waiting on you; and Jeoffrey Pagan, we’re waiting on you. Come join what we’re putting together, the Dream Team. But remember, a dream is only a dream until you make it reality. So I’m calling you out on this one. I hope you’re not afraid to be thrown into the fire. I hope you’re not afraid to be the ones to make the change.”

Crowell, Pagan, Richardson and Jenkins are all expected to make their announcements on national signing day or later.

Drew is the Bulldogs’ 23rd commitment. By rule, Georgia could sign as many as 28 players in this class and admit as many as 27 for fall semester. Two members of the Class of 2011, wide receiver Chris Conley and quarterback Christian LeMay, have already enrolled in school and count toward the 2010 recruiting class.

Following is a partial transcription of Drew’s announcement as he delivered it:

First I’d like to thanks all the schools that recruited me:

Georgia: I became not only a recruit but a friend to many coaches on the staff.

Auburn: Auburn is a place that makes you feel at home. I personally think in the recruiting process the most overused word is family. At Auburn University, they actually make you feel like you’re in a family. . . . War Eagle!

Louisiana State: I’ve never been or seen a more crazy, exciting fan base. I have never seen a coach quite as unique as coach Miles. I truly appreciate them for everything. Go Tigers, as in G-E-A-U-X.

Clemson: Coach Swinney is putting together something very special in the hills of South Carolina. Clemson is a very unique place in that it has a population of 12,000, a student body of 17,000 but it has an 85,000 seat stadium sitting right in the middle. You do the math. In the words of the great Coach Howard, if you’re not going to give 110 percent, keep your filthy hands off my rock.

Miami: Coach Golden is a very genuine guy. He knows where The U used to be and he plans on bringing back the swagger. . . . And you can’t ask for a better campus Coral Gables. Go ‘Canes.

Thanks to the other schools for recruiting me, and I have nothing but respect for all them.

After many long nights of prayer – and I believe I’ve prayed about this decision more than I’ve prayed for my own well being – after a very close evaluation of each school, I have made a final decision, to attend . . .

It’s the toughest single decision I’ve ever had to make, hands down. I’m going to pick . . .

I’m just glad this whole thing is over, it’s really been very, very stressful [laughter] . . .

Throughout all the War Eagles and all the Go Tigers and throwing up the U of Miami, none compared to the two words that say it all, [throws on Georgia cap], Go Dawgs!

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog.

1,383 comments Add your comment

woebegong

January 28th, 2011
8:24 am

ATL is Tiger Town,

For sure, if he did pick. Auburn, he would have plenty of time to get used to bowl games, since most likely, Auburn will have plenty of time to watch them from their living room couch’s. You figure out why that will be the truth and it may not have a thing to do with the players you have on your team in 2011.

D A DoubleU G

January 28th, 2011
8:26 am

Ga Fan,

Because most Georgia fans are optimistic, realist football fans. We love to support our team. We love to debate our team. We love everything about what The University of Georgia stands for.

If you are looking for fans in turmoil, cussing their program and not knowing what to do, go over to the Georgia Tech blog. I think it’s starting to sink in over there that Nesbitt is gone, along with every other Gailey recruit.

Mr. Rogers

January 28th, 2011
8:26 am

Atl TT, Gatormeat and BiGame: Thanks for caring. Its a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

1970 Dawg

January 28th, 2011
8:27 am

I love you Tech fans who come on here and salivate at the idea of us getting rid of CMR. I’ve got news for you–”it ain’t gonna happen”. You need to worry about your own coach who enjoys his recruiting battles with UAB, So Miss and Troy. I love GT too. It’s nice to have a team who we beat 90% of the time.

woebegong

January 28th, 2011
8:28 am

A is Tiger town,
Not if he wants to be in a bowl game for the next couple of years he will not. The legacy of the 2010 Tiger team just might come back to haunt you.

D A DoubleU G

January 28th, 2011
8:28 am

I must have missed something…….

Is Auburn suppose to get a big time recruit today??? There sure are a lot of Auburn people out this morning to talk about it……..

FSU-NOLE

January 28th, 2011
8:30 am

Ray Drew is going to shock the world when he puts on the Garnet and Gold hat and starts doing the Seminole chop.. its a done deal, trust me on this one…

Army Strong

January 28th, 2011
8:31 am

I just hope the kid doesn’t go to South Beach. That would be tragic. SEC recruiting this year has been above average as it always is. GO DAWGS

D A DoubleU G

January 28th, 2011
8:31 am

1970 Dawg,

Soon the NCAA will not let us count the Georgia Tech game toward our bowl record.

For the Techies who LOVE to say Mark Richt is a bad coach…..

1. Thank you for expecting us to win a National Championship EVERY year. That is some TRUE respect.

2. Mark Richt is 9-1 against you. (.900 Winning Percentage, for you calculus geeks)

In regard to #2, I guess I can see why you want him fired so badly.

It’s another day, any Tech commits jumped ship yet???

UGASlobberknocker

January 28th, 2011
8:32 am

Come On Ray Ray. Athens is your kind of town if you like fun. Also, we need you, man.

D A DoubleU G

January 28th, 2011
8:32 am

FSU NOLE…..

That’s cute. Go back to bed.

sandman053

January 28th, 2011
8:33 am

DA Double…lots of nay-sayers and pot-lickers out and about this morning huh?

dawgster

January 28th, 2011
8:34 am

@TampaGator…why you said some nice things about the dawgs and Coach Richt and we appreciate that, do you always have to take a shot against us with a llittle remark such as you ended your comments with…I mean you no disrespect, but you always seem to take a shot at either the fans or the dawgs..Of course that is always, usually after you said something respectful toward us, but you can’t leave at that…but thanks for the respectful comments that you did say…go dawgs

Prince of Alabama

January 28th, 2011
8:36 am

A young preacher playing for Satan Saban ! Bama football ….may the force be with you!

sandman053

January 28th, 2011
8:37 am

@ dawgster I gotta say there are lots of folks on here you just can’t be respectful with and discuss college recruiting.

Jacket Man

January 28th, 2011
8:37 am

Guys, don’t get me wrong, I hope Ray signs with UGA because I want these Georgia kids to stay in State. I just wish they would all get off their ego trips and realize there are other recruits out there happy to get offers just like them and are willing to do whatever it takes to make their program get better, not just make themselves look good in front of a camera.

woebegong

January 28th, 2011
8:37 am

DA Double,

Well said. True fans want UGA to succeed and though we sometimes are critical of some parts of the program, it is out of concern for our school. I think Jacket fans are just mighty jealous for the most part. If I had the recruiting class that Tech. had this year I think I would be mighty worried myself.

SouthGADawg

January 28th, 2011
8:38 am

We need this guy.

sandman053

January 28th, 2011
8:42 am

Tech missed on some players (plus there was the whole Man-boobs scholarship withdrawal yesterday) but overall for their needs they got what they needed I think IMO. Now if we can just get the Fridge to coach O-line and Bobo we will be just fine.

dawgster

January 28th, 2011
8:46 am

@sandman53…agree, i’m sure i’ll get hammered for my comments, but i just don’t get some of the taking shots at the other program, for no reason…I understand that everyone defends their own team as should be, but this is a recruiting blog and at times it gets out of hand because someone makes a negative comment toward a team and then thats when it starts…I will say though, i try to be respectful when defending negative comments toward my team…also, i try extremely hard not to put down any program or coach, but i will defend the dawgs when i feel neccessary…good to hear from you this morning and lets hope it is a great day for the dawgs….go dawgs

vwest

January 28th, 2011
8:47 am

Pagan de-commited from Clemson.

sandman053

January 28th, 2011
8:52 am

I think it is going to be the beginning of an epic 8 days for the dawgs ending next Sat. in Connecticut at J. Jenkins’ hometown. Go Dawgs!

DawgByte

January 28th, 2011
8:52 am

I want John Jenkins, Antonio Richardson, Ray Drew and Isaih Crowell. If we land all these guys we’ll be in good shape for the next three to four years.

bill

January 28th, 2011
8:52 am

Until CMR comes out and says that all incoming freshmen will be given a REAL chance to play right away, it will be business as usual in Athens…hopefully, the heat will make him play the best players this year.

vwest

January 28th, 2011
8:55 am

How many freshmen did he play last year?

Bama Fan #2

January 28th, 2011
8:55 am

Hope the dawgs get Drew and the dawgs will get Crowell no way he leaves the state of Georgia!!

Newnan Dawg

January 28th, 2011
8:56 am

FSU-NOLE Drew is not going to FSU dude, you can trust me on this one! Go look on FSU 247sports page and you will see one of the reporters for that site addressed Ray Drew possibly coming to FSU…he stated and to further show that Drew will not be coming to FSU, just spoke with a SEC Coach (not UGA coach) about where Drew was going, and the coach replied, “GEORGIA, done deal!”

RRTDawgs

January 28th, 2011
8:57 am

Hey dawgster what do think about the rumors of Friedgen being the new OL couch your thoughts .

sandman053

January 28th, 2011
8:58 am

I’m thinking Drew decided to announce early because the cat is pretty much out of the proverbial bag about his destination. Plus with Pagan de-committing (or getting de-committed depending on who you read) yesterday it all looks like in the words of Hanibal Smith of A-Team fame ” I love it when a plan comes together.” Go Dawgs!

layinlow

January 28th, 2011
9:00 am

Jacketman, do you really want to use stephon tuitt as an example of a recruit who handled the process with integrity? Really? The same guy who was a Tech lean and then went to ND and commited on the spot. Then later came back to Tech and met with coaches, PJ even canceled travel plans, afterwards he proclaimed to the Tech faithful his heart was to always be a yellowjacket. Then 24 hours hours later he decommited from Tech and said he was going to ND. Do you really want to own that statement? Drew has been a silent commit for UGA for a good while now and has been out recruiting hard for our school. So you would rather have a recruit like tuit over drew? lol.

SSG Desert DawG

January 28th, 2011
9:00 am

D A DoubleU G, Sandman053,

What do you think the chances are of LeMay redshirting this year? I don’t expect he’ll compete with Murray for the starting job (although it might not be a bad thing). Do you think they will go with Mason again as the back up and redshirt LeMay, or let the two of them compete for the backup job? Whoever is the backup, I hope they get plenty of playing time in some UGA blowouts.

sandman053

January 28th, 2011
9:04 am

SSG I think LeMay will redshirt. Simply due to keeping him eligible longer. If you don’t redshirt him, he rides the bench and burns a year of eligibility. If you redshirt him, he still rides the bench but you have that year of eligibility left. In the day and age we unfortunately live in of three years and then declaring eligible for the draft it is the prudent thing to do (especially the way Murray turned out).

RxDawg

January 28th, 2011
9:05 am

So is Nagadawg around? :)

dawgster

January 28th, 2011
9:05 am

@RRTDawgs…if they are true i would think it would be a terrific hire…but does Coach Ralph not still want a HC job, if thats the case i really would not like a one year deal or so…but he’s a great recruiter and very good coach to have on our staff…In my opinion he got a raw deal in Maryland…thought he did a great job for them overall….go dawgs

sandman053

January 28th, 2011
9:06 am

But if you put it on paper it sure looks interesting:

Murray : RS 2009, eligible 2010-2013
Mason: Eligible 2010-2013
LeMay: RS 2011 eligible 2012-2015
You are good at QB for one possibly two years without having to grab a stud QB.

sandman053

January 28th, 2011
9:07 am

dawgster: could you imagine Bobo still recruiting but learning to be an OC at the feet of Fridge?

dawgster

January 28th, 2011
9:07 am

@sandman053…hope you are right on Drew…maybe i’m the only one, but still a little nervous about his final decision…yes all indications are it is the dawgs, but is he going to shock everyone as he said previously…go dawgs

N.GA.DAWG

January 28th, 2011
9:08 am

From what I’m hearing from a very good source he is, and i quote “100% Dawg! I hope he’s right!

SSG Desert DawG

January 28th, 2011
9:09 am

I agree. I would like for the coaches to give the illusion of competion though. Murray was great last year, but he really needs to improve on his accuracy. I think Brown and Charles will do a good job of helping him out, but it would make me feel a lot better if he would start putting the ball right where it needs to be.

1eyedJack

January 28th, 2011
9:10 am

vwest

“How many freshmen did he play last year?”

6 or 7, about a third of the class.

sandman053

January 28th, 2011
9:10 am

N.GA.DAWG: I sure hope you’re right.

jeffrey d

January 28th, 2011
9:10 am

Is your source a freshman at Thomas County HS?

dawgster

January 28th, 2011
9:11 am

@sandman053…yes it would be a fantastic situation and Coach Bobo would learn alot in my opinion from Coach Ralph Fridge…I really don’t see a downside for the dawgs with this at this moment..but again, i don’t know how much truth there is to this rumor, but it does have some bite to it…go dawgs

sandman053

January 28th, 2011
9:11 am

SSG I agree. I think there will be competition but limited in light of eligibility issues. The way I set it out LeMay would get the team for two seasons to show what he can do.
I don’t think CMR will go the route with Cox again…I mean staying loyal just for loyalty’s sake if the results aren’t there.

GTfan2011

January 28th, 2011
9:19 am

No Dawg in this fight (pun intended) but I think he is all Dawg. All information that has leaked out has pointed to UGA, whereas all official Ray Drew info has been to obfuscate his true choice (like the shock the world post on FB and texting WDE to Chip) which he admits he has known for a while. If he’s not Dawg by 10:30, then he’s going somewhere totally off the map that has never even been mentioned (like GT maybe!!!! kidding).

Dawgweed

January 28th, 2011
9:20 am

Confirmed Bobo arrival in Thomasville this AM. Doubt he would be there to see Drew commit elsewhere. GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1eyedJack

January 28th, 2011
9:20 am

Friedgen as OL coach would be “HUGE”. ;)

xAl Goldenx

January 28th, 2011
9:22 am

Ray Drew is coming to play for me in South Beach…..count on it boys.

82Dawg

January 28th, 2011
9:23 am

@1eyedJack …more ways than one…:)

jeffrey d

January 28th, 2011
9:24 am

Where are you guys getting all this insider info and confirmations? Have you paid off underclassmen at TCHS?