A four-star defensive end prospect with over 30 scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida and USC, it goes without saying that Ray Drew has been able to see a lot of elite college football.
But after spending Saturday afternoon in Death Valley for LSU’s win over Tennessee, one thing is certain.
“I’ve never been to a game that was louder than that one,” Drew said. “The atmosphere was just crazy. I sat down in the student section, so I had a front row seat for it all.”
Since the action of the final minute happened in his corner of the stadium, Drew’s recount is as good as any.
“Right when the game initially ended, the LSU players were laying in the endzone, and all I could think was ‘there goes the perfect season,’” he said. “Then I looked over and saw the flag, so I knew what was happening. I knew LSU was about to get another shot.”
When the Tigers capitalized and secured the win with no time left on the clock, Death Valley broke into celebration mode – a memorable sight given it was the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder’s first time in the stadium.
“There were people hugging and cups flying everywhere,” Drew said. “I really had never seen anything like it. I realized right then how serious they took football down in Louisiana.”
Also able to experience the locker room environment, Drew summed up his gameday experience as a “great one.”
“I know one thing, coach (Les) Miles knows how to get his team pumped,” he said. “It was like they were holding back a pack of wolves before the game. It was pretty cool to see. Just being in an SEC locker room and having that first-hand look was something I won’t forget.”
A Saturday plane flight afforded Drew the opportunity to experience solely the football side on day one of his visit, meaning that Sunday was saved for meetings with the coaches and a tour of the campus.
One of the first stops: the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student Athletes.
“That really stood out to me, because academics are going to weigh in when I look at my final evaluations of each team,” Drew said. “A setup like that shows that the school puts a lot of money and focus into improving education.”
Being recruited to LSU by both Miles and defensive line coach Brick Haley, the Peach State standout said that the visit leaves the Tigers in a good spot headed forward. Drew’s trip to Baton Rouge was his first official visit, and he has not penned in destinations for his final four trips.
“It matched my expectation levels, and coach Miles was as down-to-earth as I thought he seemed over the phone,” he said. “He’s a pretty interesting guy; in a really good way. I can definitely say that it helps LSU out that I got to campus.
“I’m still not ready to narrow down my list or call anyone a leader, because I still need to do some looking around. But all in all, it was a great visit. LSU is definitely going to be one of the schools I am looking closest at when I do my cuts and make a decision.”