UGA 5-star football recruit Ray Drew and The Charlie Daniels Band

UGA-bound football recruit Ray Drew (yellow shirt) and his younger brother with county music Charlie Daniels (Photo courtesy of Drew family)

UGA-bound football recruit Ray Drew (far right, yellow shirt) and his younger brother with country music legend Charlie Daniels (Photo courtesy of Drew family)

Ray Drew, UGA’s 5-star football recruit, recently had the opportunity to meet one of his all-time favorite country music singers.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end from Thomas County Central and his younger brother went to go see The Charlie Daniels Band at a Valdosta concert earlier this month. Before the show, Drew stood in line to meet the 74-year-old Daniels.

That’s when the fun began.

“There were other people in line that found out that I was going to play football at the University of Georgia,” Drew recalled with a laugh, “and they started asking me for autographs while I was waiting for Mr. Daniels.”

The singer’s handlers noticed the small crowd gathered around Drew, and learned about his background as an ordained minister and future college football player by the time Drew got to the front. Daniels signed an autograph and posed for a picture with the Drew brothers, then invited them to stand on the side of the stage while he played his set, which — of course — included “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

Toward to end of the performance, Daniels leaned into the microphone and said, “It’s too often you hear about young men doing the wrong things — doing drugs, going to jail and all that kind of stuff. Well tonight, I want to introduce you to a young man who is doing it the right way.

“Ray Drew, where are you?”

The spotlight quickly flashed on Drew, who was motioned on stage by Daniels. Drew greeted his new friend with a big hug to rousing applause from the crowd. The singer told a little bit of Drew’s story, but not without some fun. “Mr. Daniels is a huge Tennessee fan, so he teased me about going to the University of Georgia,” Drew said.

After the show, Daniels invited Drew on his tour bus for a quick conversation. They talked about faith, sports, and life. The singer has recorded a handful of gospel albums. “Mr. Daniels said he was proud of the fact I was a minister,” Drew said. “He said if I was ever down and needed someone to pray with, just to give him a call.

“[Daniels] asked if he could say a prayer for me. He did, and then I said a prayer for him and his band ‘for safe travels.’ Then we left. It was a good time and lots of fun.”

Drew said Daniels is one of his country favorites, along with Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks. “I know a good bit of country; it’s some of my favorite music to listen to,” he said. “I listen to all kinds of music, except for that hardcore heavy metal where they scream into the microphone.”

RELATED: Georgia Tech and UGA go “scoreless” with football commitments at spring football games

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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128 comments Add your comment

South Ga Dawg

April 25th, 2011
6:25 am

WILLIE NELSON? Ray Drew is a man after my own heart. I love this kid! Can’t wait until you get to Athens!

Old Boy

April 25th, 2011
6:25 am

Charlie Daniels is a class act. He came and visited us on the DMZ when I was stationed in Korea and took the time to talk to each of us and play a full set for us. There were no cameras and no publicity; he did it because he was a patriot who was trying to make our time overseas a little better.

bgdawg

April 25th, 2011
6:28 am

hey tech fans, is this pastor a so called “THUG” too? smh. anyways, besides the country music, Ray Drew is turning into my favorite recruit. not because of athletic gifts, but because of his spiritual ones.

DC

April 25th, 2011
6:51 am

That was a nice piece to read.

Techie #44

April 25th, 2011
6:59 am

Good story, good kid

[...] Drew unleashes his inner crank. … Drew said Daniels is one of his country favorites, along with Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks. [...]

It Ain't Rocket Science

April 25th, 2011
7:08 am

It is good to see some positive stories about a UGA player. It would be hard for anybody to post a negative comment about this article but I am sure we will see the usual jerks try to do it.

Stanley in Marietta

April 25th, 2011
7:08 am

bgdawg – you sound a little insecure. Some uga fans are as bad a bama fans.

Go Gators.

HOOT99

April 25th, 2011
7:34 am

Wow, good things do happen to good people. One class act to another. So good to hear some good stories about a young man with such character. I am glad to see some young men of such strong character standing out. Can’t wait to see him Corey Moore on Saturdays. Success breeds success.

RomeDawg

April 25th, 2011
7:34 am

A defensive end went to Georgia, he was looking for a quarterback to sack, his team was behind, he was on the line, he needed to make a play.

Looking forward to this guy being a leader both on and off the field in Athens. What a class act!

Paddy

April 25th, 2011
7:39 am

The devil did go down to Georgia but Ray Drew turned him away. Great story!!

Mtn Dawg

April 25th, 2011
7:53 am

Good story. Thanks for sharing.

how2fish

April 25th, 2011
8:14 am

Nice article seems Mr.Drew has a much better grip on life at his age than say…I did at that age. Go Dogs!

Call it like it is

April 25th, 2011
8:15 am

Great, great read. Nice to read about a young bulldog, who is taking his talents and doing what is right. Wish this story would hit ESPN as fast as the ones about the guys who screw up all the time. I’m a Tennessee man too, but Ray I wish you nothing but the best.

Mark, Mark---TheHairLipDog

April 25th, 2011
8:17 am

Makes me want to cry.

Vick=Dog killing thug

April 25th, 2011
8:22 am

Big Dawg

April 25th, 2011
8:28 am

It is nice to see that Coach Richt has got someone with Christian Values, who can inspire people on and off the field. GO DAWGS!!!!!!

DS

April 25th, 2011
8:28 am

Great read… Charlie Daniels offering to be a friend and pray with the kid if he ever needed it was a very nice and classy gesture. Cant wait for Ray Drew in Athens, Go Dawgs.

D A DoubleU G

April 25th, 2011
8:32 am

Truly has potential to be one of the greatest dawgs in history.

Cannot wait til summer camp arrives.

Go Dawgs!!!

Joey

April 25th, 2011
8:42 am

Alan Jackson?

You have good taste, Ray Drew!

Boy, I hope this kid steps into Houston’s shoes and plays lights out from day one.

BigGAdawg

April 25th, 2011
8:44 am

The Devil Went Down to Georgia–that could be either Nick Satan or Steve Beelzebub Spurier.

Seriously, it is great to read an upbeat positive story. If his play matches his character and moral fiber we will be seeing lots of Mr. Drew this fall.

GO DAWGS!!!!! WOOF WOOF WOOF!!!!!

1eyedJack

April 25th, 2011
8:46 am

Gonna be a good ‘un. He shouldn’t have to worry too much about his teammates hanging around his dorm room listening to music, though I would.

Bama Fan#2

April 25th, 2011
8:47 am

Great story to read and it nice to see young people making a impact for other youth!! RTR

RxDawg

April 25th, 2011
8:47 am

Cool, when I was about 6 I had a broken arm. Charlie Daniels signed it. Of course I was 6, so I didn’t really care at the time.

DawginLex

April 25th, 2011
8:48 am

BREAKING NEWS

NCAA rules that celebrity praying for a student athlete is a violation of NCAA rules by giving said athlete an unfair advantage.

Coaches at Florida, Alabama and Ohio State not concerned since they believe they are God and no one was talking to them.

Paul N Destin

April 25th, 2011
8:48 am

Good story…three kids having a good time..someone has done a great job with Ray…

RxDawg

April 25th, 2011
8:48 am

Oh yeh, I think The Devil Went Down To Geogia is the best country song ever written.

JDawg1785

April 25th, 2011
9:00 am

What a great kid Ray Drew is. Sounds like he does everything with great passion. Can’t wait to see him tormenting QBs next season! GATA, Ray!

Mobile Dawg

April 25th, 2011
9:01 am

There are a lot of players who will hopefully look at the “clean cut” kid and follow his lead. Also a great role model for his little brother, and other youngsters….Look forward to watching Drew develop into a great one hopefully.

JAWJeRDAWG

April 25th, 2011
9:03 am

Proud of you, Ray, for both your on-field athletic prowess and off-field leadership qualities. You represent UGA well before even arriving on campus. God bless! … And what a nice gesture by Charlie Daniels to this young man and his brother. .. Good article, Michael. .. Go Dawgs!

Bob Loblaw

April 25th, 2011
9:08 am

Finally a positive story.

Sioux Dawg

April 25th, 2011
9:12 am

@Rome Dawg

Great verse , finish the song!

BigTimeTECHFan

April 25th, 2011
9:15 am

Sounds like UGA got a good kid, Even as Tech fan you gotta pull for a kid like Drew even if he plays for your biggest rival, wish him all the best, just stay away from GT’s QB’s.

He’s kind of kid that will have a great influence in UGA’s locker room.

Dawgmess

April 25th, 2011
9:20 am

Our guys hobnob with Charlie Daniels. — Theirs? Charlie Sheen.

Beast from the East

April 25th, 2011
9:50 am

Little sensitive this morning, DagwinLex?

Beast from the East

April 25th, 2011
10:05 am

Sounds like a good kid. I would like to hear some recruiting news instead of this “feel good” story. Must have been a slow weekend with the Easter holiday.

JB

April 25th, 2011
10:13 am

We need some good news. This program will struggle with perception because of the past behavior and the past two years on the field. I do believe Richt is doing things to try and make this team more competitive. The way Spring ball was run was physical and competitive. S&C is different ( it now exist) and we have a new OL coach, which can’t hurt. Yes, there are many questions still, But I like what I see. Somehow get by Boise and Carolina, we could make some noise.

Dawg-gone-to-IL

April 25th, 2011
10:17 am

Nice story to read, especially the day after Easter. Thanks

naganole

April 25th, 2011
10:18 am

Alphonso Taylor to FSU, and the hits just keep on coming for the Noles. In ‘11, we split the #1 ranking with Bama between the major recruiting services, in ‘12 we will leave no doubt…

JB

April 25th, 2011
10:19 am

Beast…….I have a Florida fan( big time fan) That works for me and I can’t get anything out of him, which is rare from him …or Any Gator. New staff, new offense, poor showing by QB Brantley in spring game. We ALL know the roster is loaded with talent. What’s going on?

JB

April 25th, 2011
10:20 am

naganole………….Yes, FSU is program to keep an eye on. I feel the talent stayed away Bobby’s last 2-3 years….But they are stock piling talent…..

naganole

April 25th, 2011
10:25 am

There is a talent gap now between the rest of the ACC and FSU, and it will widen with the 2012 class. Just like it should be. Only Clemson and UNC are remotely close…

sleeze

April 25th, 2011
10:29 am

I must’ve missed the story. What happened to that amazing journalist Chip Towers? Another cut-cutting effort by the AJC?

naganole

April 25th, 2011
10:35 am

He switched to covering UGA. He’s more comfortable there. Good for Chip, he doesn’t have to be so no biased anymore. Good guy…

naganole

April 25th, 2011
10:36 am

D A DoubleU G

April 25th, 2011
10:50 am

sleeze,

Chip Towers is now the UGA beat blog journalist.

GT45

April 25th, 2011
10:51 am

Dang good story-even if he is going to UGA!

hooray!

April 25th, 2011
10:59 am

great to read a positive story about an SEC or ACC football recruit. Keep em coming AJC

Go cocks!

Desperation on the Ave

April 25th, 2011
11:06 am

Getting advice and guidance from Charlie Daniel > getting advice and guidance from Charlie Sheen

RRTDawgs

April 25th, 2011
11:15 am

Strory like this can bring us together Ray Drew is a type player that UGA needs and be a mentor to the players .