When the University of Georgia football program landed top recruit Ray Drew's signature on signing day, it celebrated the arrival of a player many think will become one of the best defensive ends in college football. Drew is, unquestionably, one of the program's biggest recruits. Out of nowhere, he has suddenly become one of the biggest recruits for one of the school's other athletic programs, too.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Michael Carvell, Drew was recently granted permission to join the Georgia track team beginning in the spring of his freshman year. Neither the player nor the Georgia track program had previously attempted to gain track clearance for the discus thrower because, well, he didn't appear to have the talent to excel at the NCAA level.
That has changed suddenly, and dramatically, during Drew's senior season. After never finishing above fourth in the Georgia state meet, the senior has now thrown a discus more than 195 feet in meets, distances that place him on the state's all-time list. To put his increase in perspective, his fourth-place throw at the 2010 state meet was 171-feet-10.
"I've been throwing since my sophomore year," Drew told the Journal-Constitution. "I improved a good bit my junior year, and ended up throwing around 150 and got to 170 by the end of the season. That was without the spin. This year, I've worked on the spin and gotten more comfortable with it. I've taken it from 170 to the 190s."
Amazingly, the Thomas County (Ga.) High senior and part-time preacher has a legitimate shot to not only claim a state meet title in a runaway, but also a state-record throw at the same time. He's chasing an existing all-time mark of 204-2 from Winder-Barrow star Hiawatha Berry in 1985.
Whether Drew can hit that exceptional mark remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: He's already made the Georgia track coaches' spring just by deciding he doesn't want to give up on the discus after a couple of high school seasons.
"I'm not going to give up on football," Drew said with a laugh, "but I'm going to do both at Georgia."