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

The General Feeling

January 28th, 2011
10:36 am

I’m pretty sure the overwhelming majority of SEC fans want Mark Richt to stay a very long time at UGA. Yep. I’m sure of it.

Delbert D.

January 28th, 2011
10:37 am

kerryb – Hey, you were right about Drew, and I was wrong. The scheme that puts him with his hand on the ground like a 4-3 DE most of the time should work well. I figured that he would choose to go to a school that employs a conventional 4-3. Congrats to the Bulldogs.

South GA Dawg

January 28th, 2011
10:37 am

DAWGS WIN, DAWGS WIN, DAWGS WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dawg Man

January 28th, 2011
10:37 am

Be happy for the recruits you got for whatever team is yours, Trust me though Crowell is a DAWG

SWGA WDE

January 28th, 2011
10:37 am

who is talking about the kid I am talking about your coach who could floss with a ski rope

kerryb

January 28th, 2011
10:37 am

Lets see, Drew dissed AU, Crowell dissed AU. I think they see whats coming down the road for AU and want no part of it.

Realtity Check

January 28th, 2011
10:37 am

UGA Haters keep hating. Even in CMR’s worst year he is pulling in home state talent that want to play for our home state school. Before all bashers start taling about CMR’s record, list his record against the other coaches in the SEC for 10 years, not just the last two. He is equal at least to Saban, Miles, Spurrier, etc.

Dawgs in 2011

January 28th, 2011
10:37 am

Problem, SEC?

Atlantan

January 28th, 2011
10:38 am

Once again Coach Richt has amassed and awesome recruiting class… I see 4 years of 7-6, 8-5, 9-4 & 8-5 in their future.

Steve Superior

January 28th, 2011
10:38 am

Yeah good looking class as in the past but I will beat the mutts two in a row just like I did to Clempson. Go ahead and gloat for nuthin.

NeoDawg

January 28th, 2011
10:38 am

Is it just me or does it make it that much better for him to commit to UGA standing in front of a couple of TCCH banners touting it as the ‘Home of the Jackets’?

LOL

January 28th, 2011
10:38 am

Oh man, just about fell out of my chair laughing at that one SWGA WDE. 18 days since you bought a championship, good for ya’ll. Hope its still a NC this time next year, and not taken away for the obvious cheating thats going on there. And who is your next QB to lose 4 straight to the Dawgs? And that defense over there was a joke last year as well, the only thing that won games for you was Scam.

H-Town Dawg

January 28th, 2011
10:39 am

No doubt in my mind that Drew’s commitment paves the way for John Jenkins to be a Dawg. So I’m thinking that Jenkins and Pagan will come on down. I feel pretty confident about Crowell. Picking up Richardson and Turene would be a nice bonus.

Steve Superior

January 28th, 2011
10:39 am

Warden

January 28th, 2011
10:40 am

Will the preacher man be the warden that the dawg nation needs????

Dawg Man

January 28th, 2011
10:40 am

I’m not going that far The Dude Abides, that’s a stretch. Only 3-4 of these recruits are going to be able to contribute consistently next year. I think UGA needs to win 9-10 games to keep Mark RIcht afloat

Maconbulldog

January 28th, 2011
10:40 am

@Jason please sir tell us why you are so upset at this young man’s pick of going to UGA?

DOG DAYS

January 28th, 2011
10:41 am

GOOD PICK UP AGAIN CMR, BUT WILL YOU BE ABLE WIN THE BIG GAMES WITH THESE NEW RECRUITS? I SMELL IT ALL OVER AGAIN, BIG TIME HYPE& PRE-SEASON PREDICTIONS , WE LOSE BIG GAMES ,AND I CAN SEE MORE ARREST THIS SUMMER. GOOD LUCK BOYS.

RRTDawgs

January 28th, 2011
10:42 am

I thought it kind of funny all these Miami fans said Drew was going to the U and Ray does not even mention them Just think if we get Jenkins oh boy that would be a defense .

hairydawg

January 28th, 2011
10:42 am

hahaha LOWNDES so glad you’re back man….and glad to hear you won the bet…sorry naganole, we still love you…GO DAWGS!

BobDawg

January 28th, 2011
10:42 am

…This class reminds me of the 1979-1980 class that came in and sealed the deal and turned a poor “79 year into the 1980 year…. These guys are studs… Bring in Freidgen along with our S & C up grade and the sky is the limit… I think our BBall has helped alot with recruiting also…

Buckeye

January 28th, 2011
10:42 am

You remain…………unranked.

Buckeye Basketball #1 – UGA remains………unranked.

Moron

January 28th, 2011
10:43 am

These recruits are suckers. They drink the kool aid richt is offering.
6-7 lol.
enjoy playing for a losing coaching staff. you guys will regret it and half of you will be arrested within a year. i guess they are just helping put the thUG in UGA

mike

January 28th, 2011
10:43 am

Hope you get them all. What day do you want to have another “Black Out” and invite us back over for another beat down. Lets call this group Dream Team III. Please be a little more competitive this time. Its big boy football.

Roll Tide

Dawgs in 2011

January 28th, 2011
10:43 am

CMR just needs to survive this year. If he can get to 2012, then look out. Richt has proven he can win big when he has elite talent.

Steve Superior

January 28th, 2011
10:43 am

“He didn’t pick UGA over Auburn. Auburn didn’t need him so they stopped recruiting him.”

Awww, a little butt hurt that he didn’t accept Auburn’s money?

Dawgs in 2011

January 28th, 2011
10:43 am

Hey, Buckeye, cool 1-9 record against the SEC.

Buzzzed

January 28th, 2011
10:44 am

Glad he’s staying in state.

18/21

January 28th, 2011
10:44 am

Maybe you can get one with these guys. Haha

Time for a Change!

January 28th, 2011
10:44 am

2012 w/ Dan Mullen in charge is looking really good for the DAWGS!! Go DAWGS!!!

BobDawg

January 28th, 2011
10:44 am

..Ray Drew is the Pied Piper and will bring the rest in next week!!!!

Dawg Man

January 28th, 2011
10:44 am

I just can’t believe all the hate though, it really stinks

Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!

January 28th, 2011
10:44 am

Hey Lebowski. I’m thinking 2012… as long as Richt is still coaching.

DC

January 28th, 2011
10:44 am

There is one guy bashing uga..which makes 60 uga fans say incorrect biased things about AU…

FYI people, any team….ANY TEAM with a top 10 recruiting class has an amazing class…especially if you fill your needs…I feel AU has done that..I think UGA has done a good job..but if it were me I would have wanted more linemen..but I’ll stick to following my school…

Puzzy

January 28th, 2011
10:45 am

Chizik Nat champ
Meyer 2 Nat Champ
Miles Nat Champ
Saban 2 Nat Champ
Mark Richt ZERO nat champ
LOL

woebegong

January 28th, 2011
10:45 am

I do not buy that Auburn did not need him. Any SEC coach that says they did not want this young man, is just plain not telling the truth.
As is usual though, a bunch of UGA haters on the blog to try and act like mature people and all that comes out of their mouths is ignorant, childish comments. let’s see what the future holds as UGA has one heck of a recruiting class. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DAWGS.

outkasted

January 28th, 2011
10:45 am

I have to give Lowndes25 alot of credit…. he said a while back that once all said and done UGA will have an outstanding class come signing day and it sure is shaping up to be just that….u have been a great source lowndes25

Real Problem

January 28th, 2011
10:45 am

Job well done…..now let’s make Friedgen happen. Friedgen by himself will add two in win column….get him and we have the BIG DREAM TEAM.

BobDawg

January 28th, 2011
10:45 am

Buckeye, you do have an awesome team… just give us a little time….

STRETCH

January 28th, 2011
10:46 am

No use in getting all that talent when they are gonna be in jail!

Office Space

January 28th, 2011
10:46 am

It’s a beautiful Dawg day Ray.Big ‘Woof Woof”Thanks

schmeckdawg

January 28th, 2011
10:46 am

Welcome back Lowndes25!

Tucker

January 28th, 2011
10:46 am

So many fine young prospects making the decision never to compete in a BCS championship game…kind of a shame really.

Higher Calling

January 28th, 2011
10:46 am

Ray has felt the calling to a Prison Ministery. UGA is just the place.

kerryb

January 28th, 2011
10:46 am

Delbert D., Imagine a D with Drew and Pagan on the ends, Jenkins in the middle, LBs Jarvis Jones, Richard Samuel, Cornelius Washington, Sterling Bailey may end up playing OLB, Armarlo Herrera. Swann, Mitchell, Branden Smith, Sanders Cummings as corners. Ogletree, Rambo, Corey Moore as safeties. Also don’t forget Chris Mayes the DT out of Griffin. Mike Thornton,Garrison Smith, Dexter Morant, TJ Stripling we got last year. What a solid and deep defense CTG has to work with now. Thats going to be a scary defense for any offense we face.

Corninmypooh

January 28th, 2011
10:47 am

This is shaping up to be a fantastic class! Richt & Co. are doing a great job meeting our needs. If some of these blogs are correct about who has already silently committed then UGA will be in very good shape over the next few years. We need results on the field starting with Boise St.

RiffRaff

January 28th, 2011
10:47 am

This says alot about Richt & Co. after a down year. 1 5-star, 11 4-star recruits out of 23. Go Dawgs!

Brunswick Dawg

January 28th, 2011
10:47 am

With the ‘Dream Team’ becoming reality, I sure hope that UGA and CMR can make big things happen with this signing class. This is huge, but will it protect CMR as head coach. I guess only time will tell. I like CMR cause he is a man of GOD and a great coach. He just needs a little more fire.

DC

January 28th, 2011
10:47 am

woebegong, it would have been nice to get the kid. No dodoubt..but we aren’t putting all of our eggs in one basket for him..we got some solid 4 star kids and 3 stars…remember these scouts drop and give stars for playing an exhibition game…everything plays itself out in the end.

Buckeye

January 28th, 2011
10:47 am

Yo quiero hombres.

My state is a toxic waste site. Cleveland is a hole. Columbus is worse. I’m just giddy about beating the SEC for the first time in 10 tries, even though we should have lost and even though it was like the SEC’s 5th best team.

I am a troll.

Yo quiero hombres.