Georgia high school football expert sees 5-star DE Ray Drew as ‘a project’

Looking for a different perspective on how good this year’s highest-profile recruits might be in college? Well, I’ve got one for you.

Some opposing coaches who faced Thomas County Central this past season aren't sold on Ray Drew's abilities to excel in college. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Some opposing coaches who faced Thomas County Central this past season aren't sold on Ray Drew's abilities to excel in college. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Longtime Georgia sportswriter Todd Holcomb, who covers high school football for us and serves as publisher of Georgia High School Football Daily, wrote a piece for MaxPreps.com on this subject. Holcomb broke down the 27 highest-rated prospects in Georgia this past season and offered his personal opinion on how each one fared as a high school senior based on his personal observations and feedback from opposing coaches.

For instance, sees UGA’s five-star defensive end signee Ray Drew of Thomas County Central as “a project” based on a tepid performance as a high school senior. Conversely, he views linebackers Jabari Hunt-Days (Georgia Tech) and Amarlo Herrera (Georgia) as “producers” based on their extremely productive seasons.

It’s unscientific as far as how they might do in college but I found it a fascinating read. So follow the link see what you think.

248 comments Add your comment

Wilcox Patriot

February 8th, 2011
3:53 pm

Wilcox Patriot

February 8th, 2011
3:53 pm

Well, I’ll be damned.

Wilcox Patriot

February 8th, 2011
3:54 pm

Nick Marshall will be playing and producing that first game. Wide receiver?

D A DoubleU G

February 8th, 2011
3:55 pm

I think every realist Dawg fan understands that VERY few kids come out of High School and make immediate impact as a true Freshman. Especially on defense.

That is the one big problem with the “Dream Team” title…… the first time we hiccup this coming season, all haters and media will instantly use the comment “what about that “Dream Team” recruiting class??”

I look MUCH more forward to the 2012 Dawgs than the 2011 Dawgs. All I ask is progress this year.

GO DAWGS!!! Glory Glory!!

WIN WITH RICHT

February 8th, 2011
4:00 pm

I think the young WRs have the potential to play a lot and early. Conley, Mitchell, or Marshall could be very productive from game 1. Aside from T. King, none of the other WRs have done much, YET.

D A DoubleU G

February 8th, 2011
4:00 pm

One thing that the SEC defenses have going for them this year, is the true lack of QB talent in the conference. There is a VERY good chance Aaron Murray will be named 1st Team SEC at Media Days this July.

John Brantley showed he is a horrible Spread QB last year, and hasn’t had enough demonstartion time in the Pro-set to warrant the nod, and Tennessee fans can feel giddy all they want about Tyler Bray, but he only has a half season with a bowl loss to an ACC school to show. With the exits of Ryan Mallet and Cam Newton, Aaron Murray (despite the poor win/loss record) is the only QB who has shown he could be something special.

So if there was ever a year for defenses to thrive, 2011 is looking like it. So take advantage Drew, and other young Bullpups.

Apples II Oranges

February 8th, 2011
4:03 pm

I project many projects in any recruiting classes.

WIN WITH RICHT

February 8th, 2011
4:04 pm

Can you believe that Georgia Tech got only one of the 27 top players listed in that article? That linebacker that signed with Tennessee looks like a good one.

GStateBen

February 8th, 2011
4:05 pm

Project meaning that he’ll need to be developed. If I was a UGA fan, I’d be very nervous that won’t happen.

People who have seen him play have called him overrated. He’s going to need major weight room work and I’m not confident he’ll get that.

TennesseeDawg

February 8th, 2011
4:05 pm

Yeah, Drew “projects” to bust a lot of heads this year.

Radford Bunker

February 8th, 2011
4:05 pm

The story is like most AJC reporting, shallow and incomplete.

D A DoubleU G

February 8th, 2011
4:06 pm

WIN WITH RICHT……

Please man…… Let’s can the UGA/Tech childish hate fest. I have spouted my fair share of it, but we need to have an offseason for that as well. I say between National Signing Day and the end of both Spring Practices, we focus on our own teams 100% and worry about the rivalry again this Summer.

rollow lawson

February 8th, 2011
4:06 pm

Ray Drew was held on every other play his entire senior year and the refs. didn’t call it consistently. In the game I watched him play in, the guy blocking him was called for holding 7 or 8 times. How many times did he get away with it where holding was not called. In a game with real officials against blue chip All-American offensive lineman (300lbs plus), the guy has 2.5 sacks. Who is this clown again? Anyway don’t the majority of freshman come in as projects anyway?

Riley

February 8th, 2011
4:09 pm

@ D A 2U – I agree that the QB talent isn’t there in the SEC, but our first two games are against Moore and Garcia. I don’t rate Garcia, but he has a ton of weapons around him.

b

February 8th, 2011
4:12 pm

I find it ludicrous that UGA didn’t recruit A.J.Johnson.
Great job of evaluating the talent.

TR

February 8th, 2011
4:14 pm

The AJC is a Tech Rag and will continue to be till the end of time. Anything bad it can say about UGA it will say. Anything that casts Tech in a positive light will be written.

D A DoubleU G

February 8th, 2011
4:17 pm

Riley,

Kellen Moore lost all of his go to guys. They will still have trickery up their sleeve, and play at a fast pace, but I feel good about our Defense’s chances on that one. Boise is having to break in way too many newbies to convince me they are going to be instantly great again.

Garcia at SC is not a huge concern. The first time he throws 2 consecutive incompletions, Darth Visor will pull him for Connor Shaw who is an interception machine. With big John Jenkins as a true Nose Guard, we should at least be able to contain the up-the-gut running attack they beat us with next year. We cover Alshon Jeffery, and force them to keep handing the ball to Lattimore, and we should win a close game.

But, if we don’t……. at least show me signs of progression, and I’ll be okay with it.

Chip Towers

February 8th, 2011
4:18 pm

b: Recruiting is much like dating. It’s a two-way street. Both parties have to be interested.

fan

February 8th, 2011
4:20 pm

conley and mitchell will see the most playing time at WR. Conley is already there and mitchell, well, is just a stud.

SmyrnaMan

February 8th, 2011
4:22 pm

Project+CMR= Epic Disaster

UGA Insider

February 8th, 2011
4:24 pm

J. Clowney rumors are heating up folks……. It’s definately a 3 horse race at this point. I would not be surprised if UGA was the choice next Monday.

gadawgs

February 8th, 2011
4:25 pm

Did Mr. Holcomb see Rev. Ray’s performance in the US Army All Star game against the best in the land? He should watch it and revise his assessment. Ray is a beast.

82Dawg

February 8th, 2011
4:26 pm

@UGA Insider …your insider info needs to be checked…UGA is not one of his final 3…

gadawgs

February 8th, 2011
4:26 pm

Excuse me…US Army All American Game

GTfan2011

February 8th, 2011
4:26 pm

TR, that’s the dumbest thing posted here today.

Dirk

February 8th, 2011
4:27 pm

Disagree about Crowell. Heard his pass blocking was horrendous, and not a big game RB. in the SEC, all games (SEC games) are big games. I expect him to struggle against the better teams, much like Murray. You can see it already in high school Crowell’s stats, although far short of wunderback Ealey’s, are ok, but nothing special.

old timer

February 8th, 2011
4:28 pm

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Eisendawg

February 8th, 2011
4:28 pm

This is actually good. Like when you tell someone they are not very good, or they can’t do it, then they will show they can. Here’s hoping Drew and the Dawgs show what effort and hard work can do. Go Dawgs!

Dirk

February 8th, 2011
4:29 pm

Richt rarely starts Freshman, regardless of how well they out-perform the upperclassmen. Remember Moreno.

George Stein

February 8th, 2011
4:30 pm

I think Murray is going to be (already is?) a terrific QB for UGA, Double, but if you’re going to criticize Bray for losing to an ACC school, it’s only fair to mention that Murray has a bowl loss to a C-USA school on his resume.

And I agree that the nonsense between Tech and UGA fans should stop for a bit unless it’s somehow creative or funny. I don’t take this stuff too seriously and enjoy a laugh, even if it’s at my team’s expense.

UGA Insider

February 8th, 2011
4:30 pm

82Dawg,

That’s what you are suppose to believe. However, UGA coaches have been in SC all week and it ain’t recruiting for the 2012 class my friend.

Why did I even bother?

February 8th, 2011
4:31 pm

This list is laughable. There just seems to be a lot of stock put into all state teams and production. Does this list take a look at impact,impact that can’t be measured in stats? All 3 major recruiting services think Drew is a 5-star prospect and I’m sure all of them are aware of his perceived lack of production.

WOODY

February 8th, 2011
4:31 pm

This just confirms what everyone should already know about the recruitment process. It’s all odds. Get as many top-rated players because many will not work out. Some who did not do great in high school will bloom into top-notch college players, and vice versa. Some top-rated recruits will be excellent college players as well, and vice versa. This is all to say that everything is uncertain, so get the best players you can and coach them as best you can.

gadawgs

February 8th, 2011
4:32 pm

Dirk..Drew will start day one and contribute. BTW Murray did not struggle last year. He had one bad game against Florida other than that the man played great. Outplayed Stafford as a first year starter and Stafford did ok for himself. Crowell is a difference maker as freshman as he will start from day one as well.

No One Knows You're a Dawg

February 8th, 2011
4:32 pm

I believe the article actually rates the recruits based upon how they performed their senior year, not on how the author believes they will perform in college.

Chip Towers

February 8th, 2011
4:33 pm

Dirk: It would seem Georgia under Richt tends to play about a half dozen true freshmen a year on average. Out of those, perhaps two or three might end up as starters or major contributors. I would say Crowell and Jenkins are shoo-ins for the latter role this season.

Wolfman

February 8th, 2011
4:34 pm

Little ‘ol Wesleyan shut down Wilcox in the playoffs :-) …..

Chip Towers

February 8th, 2011
4:35 pm

No One Knows You’re a Dawg: Yes, you’re correct, sir.

The Old Ball Coach

February 8th, 2011
4:36 pm

How many 5 star recruits played in the Super Bowl???? Answer: 2

Preston

February 8th, 2011
4:37 pm

You never really know until they hit the field and compete at the next level. High school studs can be college ball duds and vice versa.

layinlow

February 8th, 2011
4:37 pm

Ray Drew looked pretty awesome in the all-star game. He had a sack and was in hot pusuit of the QB on a couple of other plays. I guess we will find out.

Dirk

February 8th, 2011
4:38 pm

If Richt starts Crowell over King or Ealey, when Crowell has been on campus for 6 or 7 practices to learn how to pass block/all run formations/all plays, the first 2 games are losses. I don’t see that happenining, Richt doesn’t start RB’s as true freshman, even Moreno didn’t start.

Jenkins will likely start, but he’s not a freshman, he’s an experience JUCO transfer.

ChrisC

February 8th, 2011
4:39 pm

Chip – I think spun that way, it’s an interesting article, but still a very iffy tool to project next-level performance. Instead looking at the jump from college to the NFL, and betraying my UGA-ness, DJ Shockley would have been a “producer” while Terrell Davis would have been a “project.” Just my 2 cents.

D A DoubleU G

February 8th, 2011
4:40 pm

George Stein,

The point I was trying to make about Tyler Bray was much more about his lack of true SEC gametime experience, and not as much his loss to UNC in the bowl.

The only 4 game stretch in which Tennessee and Bray looked promising last season was against Memphis, Ole Miss, Vandy and Kentucky. That’s when the fans got giddy about Bray. Any quarterback in America would have looked good with a stretch of games like that.

Murray had a helluva season. The UGA defense was accountable for more losses than Murray was. He has my vote today, to wear the crown as 1st Team SEC in Hoover, AL this July.

WIN WITH RICHT

February 8th, 2011
4:40 pm

Chris Conley is a guy no one talks about much. But, by enrolling early and going through spring practice, he will have a big headstart on the other freshman WRs. If Wooten or Brown don’t start producing, Conley could be a major contributor.

Dirk

February 8th, 2011
4:41 pm

Murray had ok stats against losing teams, but among the worst in the country against winning teams. Murray is a sub par QB and always will be. 6-7 as a starter with an offense completed loaded and experienced. Because of that horrific experience, Richt will be reluctant to start other freshmen.

Preston

February 8th, 2011
4:43 pm

Dirk, he’ll have more than 6 or 7 practices before the season starts. I promise you. And Richt admitted that his biggest mistake as a coach has been to redshirt KM. If IC comes in and shows that he’s ready to start, believe me, he’ll start. And that’s how it should be. No more loyalty to guys simply because they’re a year or two older. It’s a stupid way to do business.

S. Thomas Coleman

February 8th, 2011
4:43 pm

Nice nugget, Chip.

But this underscores the happenstance of “stars” and “rankings.” Todd listed just the supposed “four and five star” players. How Kell’s Brian Randolph didn’t rate out as a “four start” is beyond me.

Randolph, Buford CB Ryan Dillard, Grady RB Marcus Caffey, MLK WR DeMarco Robinson, Valdosta TE Jay Rome and Peach County RB Travis Richmond were the best players I saw this year. There were several others (watch out for Alpharetta C DeAndre Wise), but those players stood out the most.

S. Thomas Coleman

Hairy Dog Nutz

February 8th, 2011
4:43 pm

Buckeye

February 8th, 2011
4:44 pm

The Sham, I mean Dream Team is 0-0 coming off a 6-7 performance.