Drew's Right on Schedule

ATHENS – A few weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of his arrival on the University of Georgia's campus, Ray Drew says he's figured this college thing out.

"The biggest thing from high school to college I'd say is sleep," he said. "I've learned the value of sleep since I've been here. Every time you get a chance you want to close your eyes because of the schedule that we're on."

Drew's calendar is packed even tighter than most football players. A 6-5, 275-pound native of Thomasville, Drew split time this spring throwing the discus for the track and field team.

Practicing on a voluntarily basis due to the NCAA's regulations for student-athlete's time spent training, Drew finished as high as second in one competition this spring.

"They know football is my primary sport, and that's why I'm on scholarship," he said. "They give me the freedom to come out whenever I want to. Usually I go out on Tuesday or Thursday for an hour or two."

Drew Through the Years

Click the photo above to see more photos of Ray Drew

Compounding his spring schedule even further, Drew changed positions this offseason. He moved from outside linebacker, the spot he collected eight tackles from in 2011, to defensive end. The move was natural given Drew's weight gain and frame to add even more.

"To this point I believe I've taken to the position as far as, you know, progressing," he said. "I still have some things that I could work on, and I've got to keep plugging at those a little by little. I think I've got all the big things. It's the little things that I've got to keep working on. The basic fundamentals, you know, the alignment here and there."

One of the fundamental differences between Drew's old position and his new gig deals with the types of blockers he takes on. At outside linebacker he mostly went up against offensive tackles.

"Outside I could use my speed and time it up, but inside you've got double-teams with the guard and the tackle," he said.

The increased attention means more physicality. But Drew didn't shy away from the contact and adjusted by working on his hand placement.

"He's got a fighter's spirit in him," nose tackle John Jenkins said. "He's out there with the big boys, he's in the trenches, you know what I mean? He's been holding his own."

Now a full year removed from high school, Drew says things are rounding into place – on and off the field. As far as football is concerned, it's the little things that have helped him most. Learning how to flip his hips is one example, but he's now spent considerable time under both Todd Grantham (defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach) and Rodney Garner (defensive line coach). The knowledge from the diverse perspectives has rubbed off.

"I say it all the time when I'm talking to my friends, if I knew what I know now back when I was in high school, there would have been no way that I would have been able to be blocked at all," Drew said. "Just being here and getting around the coaches and with them having all the experience and putting their wisdom on me to help me along is helping me out tremendously."

And away from the field, sleep isn't the only thing Drew has keyed in on.

"You're going from being the guy to one of the guys," he said. "Me as a person, I believe I've matured more because of the responsibility that's been put on me with having to take care of academics and football and everything all together. Parents aren't here to help you. They aren't here to carry you along and hold your hand and tell you to do this and do that. You learn how to use time management skills."

For a student-athlete with Drew's schedule, time management is of the upmost importance. That and sleep.

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