Talented Defensive End Enjoys AU Visit

Big defensive end Ray Drew talks about his visit to Auburn on Friday and gives his thoughts on Gene Chizik's program.

Thomasville, Ga.--Four-star defensive end Ray Drew has well over 20 offers and has drawn interest from all over the country because of his play at defensive end and tight end for Thomas County Central. On Friday he wrapped up a tour of four of the schools on his list by checking out the Auburn Tigers. He said after the final visit he likes what he sees from coach Gene Chizik's program.

"I just got off the Ray Drew World Tour," he said. "I left my home on Monday and went to the University of South Carolina on Tuesday, Clemson on Wednesday, Tennessee on Thursday and I went to Auburn today. After seeing those places I'm going to write down the good and the bad of what I saw out of each college and what I liked and disliked. I'm going to go from there.

"Auburn stands up quite nicely," he added. "I saw some stuff in them that I didn't see in others. As far as matching up with everyone they had just about everything that everyone else had, and they offered more as well. It was great for them I guess you could say."

Making his first trip to Auburn on Friday, the 6-5, 248 Drew said that having the opportunity to sit down and meet with the coaches and get to know them even better was one of the highlights of his day on the Plains.

"Today went very well," Drew said. "We came in and I got a chance to meet with all the coaches and see what the university is all about. I got a tour of everything and had a chance to go to the stadium. Everything went nice. The coaches showed lots of love. They took me in with open arms. They just made it a great day altogether. I got a chance to watch them go out and practice. There was a lot of togetherness on the team as well. There wasn't a lot of arguing or fussing between the coaches. There was some unity there. The family atmosphere was great. I think the coaching staff is doing something good there. I believe they are going to be a roll before too long."

One of the focal points for Auburn's recruiting since Chizik and his staff arrived has been developing and playing up the family atmosphere. That's something that Drew said he saw right away and it's something he likes about the Tigers.

"I got a chance to see what they are putting together with the family atmosphere and the morals they are built on," Drew said. "I think they are putting together a group of great young men, not just great players, but great people as well. The coaching staff are guys that you can relate to. They have an open door policy so you can't say the coaches aren't there for you. You can always go talk with them no matter what."

Spending time getting to know the coaches was one of the things that played a big part in Drew's visit on Friday. That included nearly an hour visit with Chizik in his office. Drew said while they did talk some football, mostly it was just a chance to get to know each other and begin to build a relationship.

"We got a chance to sit down and talk and talk about what is going on there and some of the plans for the future," Drew said. "He was talking about how they are going to be extending the stadium and doing the practice fields. Besides that he was talking about the university. It really wasn't about recruiting. He wanted to know who I was and I wanted to get to know who he was. He talked about his family and how big he was on family. He basically said they were a family. That's what it was about."

Getting to know the coaches also meant sitting down and getting to know coach Tracy Rocker. Coaching the position he would like to play on the next level at defensive end, Drew said Rocker is the kind of guy he could see himself playing for in college.

"He's a great guy," Drew said. "He knows the game. I feel if you're going to coach a position you need to know what it's about. With him being a Lombardi Award winner and winning numerous other awards as well, he's been there and can relate to what we're about to go through. He's a great guy to coach the position. You want to be coached by the best and he has that."

Drew said that while he's already started to look at and compare schools, he's not in any rush to make a decision. In fact he said he could take things all the way until February before he pulls the trigger on a school.

"Whenever I make my decision I want to know that it's the right one," Drew said. "I don't want to second guess about should I have gone here or there. I want to know that when I make that final decision it's the right one. I don't want to have any doubts.

"I'm looking for a coaching staff that is going to be a family away from home," he added. "The coach that will be a father to me and treat me like his own. I'm looking for someone that is going to push me to be the best I can be. I don't just want to go somewhere and say I made it. I want to leave knowing that I've got the best academically I can have and the best on the field that I can have.

"I'm pretty big on player-coach relationship. I like to know who I'm playing for and what they're about. Also I'm pretty big on fan support and tradition. You see a lot of that (at Auburn) on game day with the Tiger Walk and 87,000 people screaming in the stands and people watching at home. That's at Auburn as well."

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