UCLA Looks Good for Elite D-End

Ray Drew is the #8-ranked defensive end in the nation, and with dozens of offers -- from schools like Alabama, Michigan and Notre Dame -- the down-to-Earth prospect from Georgia talks admiringly of UCLA...

Ray Drew, the 6-foot-5, 249-pound defensive end from Thomas County Central High School in Thomasville, Ga., is almost certain (80-90%) he will be heading out west to UCLA for one of his official visits. He's not ready to set dates just yet.

"I'm pretty sure UCLA will be one of my visits," Drew said. "I'm really interested in them not just for football but because they have one of the best communications schools in the world and that's what I want to major in.

"For me, it's not just about what's on the field, but what they can do for me off the field," he said. "UCLA offers me security after football. A football career is not that long and you have to have a plan for afterwards. I look at my mentor's (Michael Strahan, New York Giants defensive end) career after the NFL as a guide.

"That's what I want to be like," Drew said. "UCLA offers all of that, a dynamic football program, great school in the perfect location — Los Angeles. I would be in the middle of everything and have the chance to network and make a lot of valuable connections. Plus, you can't beat the weather out there. It's definitely better than hot Georgia weather.

"I've been talking to Coach (Todd) Howard (defensive line) and Coach (Rick) Neuheisel the most. They're wanting me to come out for an official as soon as possible."

Drew hasn't decided on a timeframe for taking his visits so hasn't set any dates yet. "I'm not sure if I want to take my visit during the season or not. I'm hoping we go pretty deep into the playoffs this season and then I have the U.S. Army All-American Bowl right after that. So I'm trying to see when I can fit my visits in right now and see some good games."

Some other possible visits for the four-star prospect are Florida, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia, all of whom have offered. "My dad told me I need to take visits to schools I'm interested in, no matter if they are close by or far. I sort of want to go take my visits to schools that are too far away for me to visit on my own."

Drew still denies any favorites, but says a big factor in narrowing down his list is academics. "Texas, Syracuse and Florida all have good communication schools and I'd like to find out more about them. But only Florida has offered."

Alabama is another possible destination for Scout.com's No.8 defensive end. "I really like Coach (Nick) Saban and his all-business style," he said. "Alabama is a great school and football program. I need to take my parents up there because they haven't seen the campus yet."

Drew said Auburn could make the cut also. "Auburn is just a great place," he said. "I love the entire coaching staff there. Coach (Gene) Chizik, Coach (Tracy) Rocker (defensive line) are great guys. They have fun with the players, but still know how to get what they want out of them on the field. And (wide receivers) Coach Tru (Trooper Taylor) really knows how to get a crowd going. I love that they are so tight there. I like to say they really throw around the "F" word at Auburn –family."

Drew denies any plans to commit in the near future. "For the past two or three days, I've been calling the schools I know I'm not interested in," he said. "I'm not even close to even thinking about committing anytime soon. I just don't want to wait until the last minute. First I want to take all my visits and then go from there."

Drew reports a 3.0 core GPA, a 17 ACT and a 1350 May SAT.

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