With offers from just about every big-time college program that you can shake a scholarship at, Thomas County Central's Ray Drew has options like few others.
For weeks, the nation's top-ranked weakside defensive end has spoken mostly in general terms in regards to what school he might eventually attend.
But Friday during an interview with UGASports, Drew acknowledged he's now focused on a select few.
"My list right now is Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, Clemson, Florida and Auburn for the schools that I've been to and seen," Drew said in a telephone interview Friday morning.
Drew said he's also still considering UCLA, Michigan and Notre Dame, but will only make a visit to one of the three.
Drew, who traveled to Auburn last week and saw the Tigers dismantle the Bulldogs 49-31, will not be able to attend next week's game in Athens against Georgia Tech due to the fact his basketball team plays that same night.
He does, however, expect to attend Georgia's annual Awards Gala set for Dec. 11 at the Classic Center.
Drew said he's definitely much closer than he was to making up his mind.
"I've already looked into things like academics, football wise. It's really on a relationships level now. No matter where I go the football is going to take care of itself. I know I'm going to go into a great football program. The academics at any Division I program is going to be a superlative, it's not like they're going to let you take basket weaving," Drew said. "The academics are going to be good. It's really about an investment with the school. It's really about where I feel the most comfortable now, who I'm going to be surrounded with and that kind of deal."
He added that Georgia's 5-6 record will not hurt the Bulldogs' chances.
"No it doesn't because you have to look at it, Auburn was 8-3 last year and now they're No. 2 in the BCS standings right now," Drew said. "You can't judge by a previous year's record."
Friday's interview with Drew was one of the first he's conducted since taking a self-imposed hiatus after the litany of phone calls from coaches and reporters almost became too much to bear.
"I had a lot on my mind and just needed some me time, just a little small window to have some time to myself, because it had got to the point where I just wanted to take the phone and throw it in the river," Drew said. "I just needed a little time to get back to basics I guess, get back in touch with myself and everything."
Drew admitted the time off helped to clear his mind.
Not only was he able to take a break from all the calls, but it also gave him the opportunity to put more focus on his school work, particularly math.
"I had been slipping a bit, but it's doing MUCH better than it was and I plan on keeping it that way," Drew said.
As for his trip last week to Auburn, Drew said he had a good time.
"The trip went very well. The fans are very passionate over there and they have a very loud stadium. The coaching staff is good," he said. "I had a chance to talk with Coach (Gene) Chizik who is a very genuine type of guy and then Coach (Tracy) Rocker who would be my position coach. He's very real with what he does; what you see is what you get."
Drew still has no timetable as to when he might ultimately make his college choice known.
In the meantime, he said he will continue to confide in close family friends, including mentor Michael Strahan of New York Giants fame.
He'll also continue to lean on his church, the place where the young minister concedes he feels most at home.
"They play a big role in everything and that means a lot knowing that I have people like that backing me and supporting me, no matter where I go," Drew said. "The church is basically my family-family. They're always there to reassure me that no matter what, no matter where you go, you can always come back to us and that means a lot."
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