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June 29, 2010

Peach State's top recruit multi-talented

Thomas County (Ga.) Central defensive end Ray Drew has scholarship offers from nearly all of the top colleges in the nation. His combination of size and athleticism creates serious problems for opposing offenses.

"He's got those long arms and a big frame and has really good speed for a tall guy," Thomas County Central head coach Bill Shaver said of the 6-foot-5, 243-pound Drew. "The long arms help him with trying to get blockers off of him.

"I coach offense most of the time, so he can make it real tough when you get back in shotgun and he knows you are passing. He can come with some pretty good pressure."

Drew, a three-sport star, had 72 tackles, six sacks, 16 tackles for loss, 25 quarterback pressures and three forced fumbles during his junior season.

Shaver expects Drew to be a leader for the defense yet again this season. One of his main goals is to keep Drew focused on winning a title game and less focused on his college recruitment, until the season is over.

"We expect for him to be one of our leaders on defense," said Shaver. "We've got to keep him humble and let him know that he is still a high school player for Thomas County Central.

"He needs to play the best he can to help our team succeed."

When Drew is not busy on the football field, he is practicing for basketball or track. He is the starting center in basketball and finished third in the state in the discus for track.

Shaver believes work ethic will be the area Drew has to focus most on when he gets to college, where he will not be able to rely as much on his physical abilities.

"A lot of times he can just go on natural ability. When he goes to the next level he'll have to take that next step," Shaver said. "Right now he can win the battle most of the time without going full out."

Aside from football, Drew is well known for his extra-curricular activities. His coach recognized the high level of character Drew possesses is a rarity. Drew spends much of his free time at church and the Christian organizations he is involved with.

"Character-wise, you don't get a better young man," said Shaver. "He is already an ordained minister and is a 'yes sir', 'no sir' kind of guy. And he's always about doing what's right.

"One time he had to leave track practice early because he was preaching at a revival," Shaver said.

Like most top-rated athletes, Drew will make colleges fight for his signature until signing day. It is his time to enjoy national attention, and he is going to make the most of it. Drew's friendly personality is also making him an especially difficult prospect to get a read on.

"He is having a hard time telling anybody 'no' right now," Shaver said. "I told him eventually he will have to tell some people 'no' and narrow down his list."

Rivals rates Drew the No. 1 prospect in the state of Georgia, the nation's No. 2 defensive end and No. 15 overall recruit. Grew grew up a Florida State fan, but when Bobby Bowden stepped down it opened up his recruitment. The only clear requirement in the school of Drew's choice is that he wants to stay close to home.

"He has his mom, dad and brother at home and wanting to play close is definitely a draw for him," Shaver said. "I think Auburn is in the mix, but I think anyone in the area is in the mix.

"He is going to play in the Army game in January and I think he will wait until signing day before he makes a decision."






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