Fast-growing Ray Drew believes versatility is his ticket to football future

Sophomore Ray Drew is now playing with 270 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame and hopes to be between 285 and 290 by the time he leaves Georgia. (UGA photo)

Sophomore Ray Drew is now playing with 270 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame and hopes to be between 285 and 290 by the time he leaves Georgia. (UGA photo)

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt was raving the other day about how much Ray Drew has grown since he has been with the Bulldogs. If Drew’s progress on the field matches his physical maturity, NFL scouts soon may be raving about Drew as well.

Thanks in large part to his metamorphosis from the athletic, 6-foot-5, 245-pounder he was when he showed up to the hulking 270-pounder he is in spring football practice this week, the Bulldogs have moved Drew down onto the defensive line. He played last season as a will outside linebacker, a stand-up position that occasionally plays on the line of scrimmage.

Now he’s lining up at defensive end, which in defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s scheme is played with a hand on the ground and sometimes well inside toward the interior of the opposing offensive line. Senior Cornelius Washington, who is now pushing 280 pounds is making a similar transition.

While initially resistant to the idea, Drew likes what he’s been hearing about and experiencing at the position.

“Before I leave here as a senior, they project me as about 285-290 [pounds],” Drew said. “If I can get to that weight and keep my speed as well, you know, everyone has dreams and aspirations of the NFL. And that would open me up not only to the 3-4 teams but the 4-3 teams as well. So you can be looked at by both sides as a defensive tackle, defensive end, 3-technique, 5-technique, any one.”

Both Drew and Washington have been working at the new position since spring practice opened on Tuesday. Thursday represented their third say working out with the group that includes Abry Jones and Garrison Smith and is led by coach Rodney Garner.

“There’s not too much of a difference,” Drew said. “The 5-technique and the 3-technique (tackle/end positions) are pretty much the same as the 9 technique (an outside linebacker spot) except you’re a little bit wider out and have a little more room to work. Now that I’m on the inside, you have to be a little more power driven and use your hands well. You have to have good hand placement and be able to knock the offensive tackle’s or guard’s hands off of you so you can make the play. That’s opposed to outside, where you can use a little more finesse and maybe use a spin move here or there.”

Ultimately, Drew may continue play some at outside linebacker in the fall. But a cornerstone of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s philosophy is to cross-train players at more than one position. He wants to have the versatility to mix-match his lineup to include what he deems to be the 11 best players on the field for whatever offense the Bulldogs may be facing in a given week.

But Drew’s dramatic physical growth as a result of daily strength and conditioning coupled with a supervised nutritional diet are dictating a change as much as anything.

“With the way Ray’s body is growing and that kind of thing, he’s certainly got to learn what to do at the end position,” Richt said. “I don’t know what he weighs this minute, but he’s tall, got very broad shoulders, long arms, giant feet. I think [he wears shoe size] 20s or something like that. . . . I don’t want to predict how big he can get but big enough to play end and still be athletic enough to play outside linebacker.”

Remaining versatile enough to play a number of positions is what Drew is banking on.

“[Demarcus] Dobbs is a great testament to that,” drew said of being versatile. “He’s with the ‘Niners now and the coaches love him because he can play the 7, the 5, the 3, the nose. When it comes down to it and you’re choosing between two guys on the defensive line and you’ve got a guy that can play all the positions as opposed to just a 5 or a 7, when it comes time to cut someone you’re going to keep the guy that can move around. So it gives you more opportunities in that aspect.”

Drew alluded to the story of Richard Seymour, who showed up as a Georgia freshman as a lanky, 6-foot-6 end.

“He didn’t want to move inside either and now he’s one of the highest-paid defensive linemen in the NFL,” Drew said. “So anyone who can help me make that much money, I’m willing to do whatever they say.”

You could say the idea of playing defensive end is growing on Drew.

“I look at myself as a player,” he said. “Whether it be at defensive end, outside linebacker or quarterback, I just want to be on the field. But as far as that label itself, yeah, I could see myself as a defensive end.”

96 comments Add your comment

Tally Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
3:37 pm

Tally Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
3:38 pm

Wow, that’s a ‘first’.

jarvis

March 22nd, 2012
3:39 pm

He’ll be the man.

ClinchCountyDawg

March 22nd, 2012
3:39 pm

He wiil be a great play maker wherever he lines up!!!

some sense

March 22nd, 2012
3:40 pm

Kwame Geathers????????????????????????????????

Burdell

March 22nd, 2012
3:48 pm

That is one big ole’ Reverend y’all got there! Good luck to him…seems like a good “kid”.

Hail Munson

March 22nd, 2012
3:59 pm

I can’t wait to see Drew and Jones sandwich a quarterback. I wonder how much money those two could have made as part of the aint’s bounty program.

christopher

March 22nd, 2012
3:59 pm

GO DOGS ALL THE WAY!

piermontdawgny

March 22nd, 2012
3:59 pm

GET AFTER IT!

Georgia’s Defense will be the key to the National Championship!

Frank Lane

March 22nd, 2012
4:00 pm

It is getting so exciting.

G-Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
4:03 pm

Now if Bobo will take lessons regarding finding mismatches on offense…our team could be serious contenders.

SimpleDawg

March 22nd, 2012
4:05 pm

And all God’s children said, “Amen.”

Vampire Bill

March 22nd, 2012
4:06 pm

I’m a little worried about Kwame too? Where are you big fellah?

dawgman

March 22nd, 2012
4:06 pm

not trying to rain in the optimism in these comments but we still have Bobo. you know?

dawgman

March 22nd, 2012
4:06 pm

And Grantham’s defense is tailored to stop points being scored. not score many points

Dap01

March 22nd, 2012
4:07 pm

Drew is a GREAT Dawg. He is special.

Pup Fan

March 22nd, 2012
4:08 pm

@Tally Dawg,
Jim is that you?

RxDawg

March 22nd, 2012
4:11 pm

I’m excited to see what Drew can do next year. And yes, long lanky big fast DE’s are VERY much valued in the NFL.

1. You have to have a QB

2. You have to be able to rush and disrupt the opposing QB.

That’s the NFL secret to success right there.

7576DAWG

March 22nd, 2012
4:12 pm

When we recruit players ,some have stopped growing and some continue to grow. A lot of kids resist changing what they did in high school and never develop and grow into the position they will end up with in college and the Pro’s. I am glad that Drew understands why he has to move and learn more than one position. He is a good kid and has a great attitude. I think he will be a force to be reckoned with this year and especially next year. Our defense will be great this year but you want as many dominate players as possible like Ogletree and Jones . Find 2 or 3 more like them and our opponents won’t have time to breathe. Can’t wait to see Grantham’s defense in action this year.

1eyedJack

March 22nd, 2012
4:15 pm

Kwaeme is a DT. This article is about DEs.

Dawg Gone It !!!

March 22nd, 2012
4:16 pm

How Bout Them Dawgs !

Charlie Hayes

March 22nd, 2012
4:19 pm

DGD! Can’t wait to see that # 47 in the backfield creating mayhem! Another Pollack in the making I sense? Stay humble, off scooters and you could be the next All American my friend! Go Dawgs!

MY Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
4:24 pm

And every Dawg drooled a little more in anticipation of defensive greatness this fall! Go Dawgs!

Mountain Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
4:25 pm

This is all well and good, but I wish I was hearing more of ‘how I can help the Dawgs’ instead of ‘I’m trying to position myself where I can make the most money’. Evidently, the only thing on his mind is NFL money.

BigTimeTechFan

March 22nd, 2012
4:28 pm

Chip, it is very common for Collage players to put on weight. 25 pounds is not much and really no big deal. Most schools will get their players to a preferred playing weight during their freshmen year, then after adjust as they feel the player plays best. That very common for OL, DL, LB’s, TE

Example Fransis Kallon went from 240 to 280 in high school from Fall to Spring. Euclid Cummings went from 227 to 270 lbs, Emmanuel Dieke went from 220 lb to 270 lbs.

GTBob

March 22nd, 2012
4:40 pm

Evidently, the only thing on his mind is NFL money.

He is a minor league NFL player. Not a college player. He could care less about UGA. That mindset is one of the worst things about college football these days.

flo-ri-duh

March 22nd, 2012
4:50 pm

DE is where Drew belongs and Abry Jones is a senior – as well as Cornelius Washington. Drew is a true sophomore.

roswell dawg

March 22nd, 2012
4:54 pm

Gt bob shut up and go play with you sister

1eyedJack

March 22nd, 2012
5:03 pm

GTBob, GT players could care less about Georgia Tech. That’s why so few of them ever graduate.

DC Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
5:04 pm

GT Bob – you have a job right? You do it to make money right? Isn’t that the American Dream? Shut up moron.

GTBob

March 22nd, 2012
5:08 pm

GT Bob – you have a job right? You do it to make money right? Isn’t that the American Dream?

Your dream is to get a job and make money? You should really aim higher.

GTBob

March 22nd, 2012
5:11 pm

GTBob, GT players could care less about Georgia Tech. That’s why so few of them ever graduate.

Nah, some don’t graduate because graduating from GT actually takes considerable effort. Some people scoff at the APR rates. I laugh at them. The football players should have to work hard and persevere like any other Tech student.

rogeriter

March 22nd, 2012
5:18 pm

GTBob–Obviously you don’t have a job…or a personality…or common sense…or…

JayD

March 22nd, 2012
5:21 pm

GTBob…. Most college students think about life after college – Thats why they pick Majors!

1eyedJack

March 22nd, 2012
5:26 pm

“Nah, some don’t graduate because graduating from GT actually takes considerable effort.”

I thought Coach Fishfry only recruited student athletes who could handle the rigors of the Tech curriculum. Just how hard is that Management program?

GTBob

March 22nd, 2012
5:30 pm

GTBob…. Most college students think about life after college – Thats why they pick Majors!

This is true for most students. For football players they usually just let an adviser pick a major and classes for them to minimize the amount of time they have to spend away from the football field. That way they can concentrate on their NFL career.

GTBob

March 22nd, 2012
5:32 pm

Just how hard is that Management program?

Harder then 90% of the majors at UGA. Its a highly ranked national program and has the same core requirements as the rest of the University. Meaning heavy on Science and Math.

dawgfan

March 22nd, 2012
5:43 pm

Heavy on science and math? LMAO. Management majors at Georgia Tech are required to take the equivalent of high school senior level math and science classes. Big freaking whoop. This hardly explains why you cannot win a bowl game, cannot beat Georgia, and cannot do anything in football that is of any significance whatsoever.

Tech fans are the biggest sore loser crybabies on the face of the earth. Nothing but excuses out of the nerd herd. Its unbelievable.

Spanky

March 22nd, 2012
5:44 pm

…and that’s how quickly this blog gets off track!! Ignore the nerds, that’s it,..just ignore them, and they’ll leave like an 8yr old at a garden party….NOW, to answer some of you asking about Kwame, he and big Jon J are still co-noses 1 and 2. What I’m hearing from camp is the improvement of Garrison Smith, ‘Tree, and Bacarri Rambo. These guys are the one to light fires under fannies! Haven’t heard anything from the O Line yet…..yet.

7576DAWG

March 22nd, 2012
5:50 pm

You can’t bad mouth Drew for thinking about making money in the NFL. If you were a student studying to be a lawyer you would be talking about how you were going to position yourself by the time you graduated to make the most money. He is being honest and I would rather him say that that a bunch of patronizing BS that really wouldn’t mean anything.
He was convinced to try other positions because Grantham thinks he has a better chance at playing Pro ball knowing all the positions on the offensive line. He didn’t like it at first but realizes that Grantham is a lot smarter than he is and if Grantham finds him a home on the offensive line Georgia will be better off and Drew will reap the benefit by getting to the next level. Everybody wins so where is the complaint. I haven’t heard one thing bad about Ray Drew and attitude except that he bust his rear end everyday. If he wants to talk about money he is entitled to do so like any other student would be doing as part of an important aspect of ones future.

dnn

March 22nd, 2012
5:50 pm

Former nfl coach training young college men football nfl style..show me the money

UGADawg91

March 22nd, 2012
5:51 pm

G. Smith on the D-Line is one guy I am really looking forward to seeing. D. Swann at CB is another. Now if the O-Line can hold up and the RB’s can stay healthy and on the field, could be a real special year. The D should be special but I still worry about Bobo.

GTBob

March 22nd, 2012
5:54 pm

Management majors at Georgia Tech are required to take the equivalent of high school senior level math and science classes. Big freaking whoop.

They are required to take Survey of Calculus, and Finite Mathematics as the core math classes. One semester of Computer Science, two semesters of lab science which I can assure you are more difficult then what you took in high school, at least two semesters of economics, and at least two semesters of financial accounting. This is all on top of the normal core courses that most students at any college have to take and the core managerial classes. Please, compare this to the housing degree at UGA for us.

GTBob

March 22nd, 2012
5:55 pm

If you were a student studying to be a lawyer you would be talking about how you were going to position yourself by the time you graduated to make the most money.

Is he majoring in football? I’m honestly asking because it wouldn’t surprise me if that was an actual major at UGA.

Spanky

March 22nd, 2012
5:56 pm

UGADawg91- Thanks for that lead-in about Bobo….think about this for a bit..Out with Bobo, in comes Hines Ward, who wants to coach at Georgia…eventually…not sayin, just sayin!

slawdawg

March 22nd, 2012
6:34 pm

Go dogs, go Drew!! GT Bob does not have a clue about sports!!

bingdon

March 22nd, 2012
6:34 pm

I like the guys comment abou quamy gathers or however he spells his name. Giant is not always good, but it don’t hurt.

slawdawg

March 22nd, 2012
6:36 pm

GT Bob…….Is he majoring in football? Yes, It’s called the NFL where they millions you know!!!

Dawg Haus

March 22nd, 2012
6:50 pm

Drew will be an outstanding end for the Dawgs. Didn’t he play that position in high school?

bamadawg

March 22nd, 2012
7:02 pm

Hey GT Bob Just a 1972 high school grad here but I’ll show you my w-2 if you’ll show me yous!!