“I heard your call — And now I’ve given an answer.”
Isaiah Crowell, we’re waiting on you; Antonio Richardson, we’re waiting on you; John Jenkins, we’re waiting on you; and Jeoffrey Pagan, we’re waiting on you.
Come join what we’re putting together, the Dream Team. But remember, a dream is only a dream until you make it reality. So I’m calling you out on this one.
I hope you’re not afraid to be thrown into the fire. I hope you’re not afraid to be the ones to make the change.
Partial transcription of Drew’s announcement as delivered:
First I’d like to thanks all the schools that recruited me:
Georgia: I became not only a recruit but a friend to many coaches on the staff.
Auburn: Auburn is a place that makes you feel at home. I personally think in the recruiting process the most overused word is family. At Auburn University, they actually make you feel like you’re in a family. . . . War Eagle!
Louisiana State: I’ve never been or seen a more crazy, exciting fan base. I have never seen a coach quite as unique as coach Miles. I truly appreciate them for everything. Go Tigers, as in G-E-A-U-X.
Clemson: Coach Swinney is putting together something very special in the hills of South Carolina. Clemson is a very unique place in that it has a population of 12,000, a student body of 17,000 but it has an 85,000 seat stadium sitting right in the middle. You do the math. In the words of the great Coach Howard, if you’re not going to give 110 percent, keep your filthy hands off my rock.
Miami: Coach Golden is a very genuine guy. He knows where The U used to be and he plans on bringing back the swagger. . . . And you can’t ask for a better campus Coral Gables. Go ‘Canes.
Thanks to the other schools for recruiting me, and I have nothing but respect for all them.
After many long nights of prayer – and I believe I’ve prayed about this decision more than I’ve prayed for my own well being – after a very close evaluation of each school, I have made a final decision, to attend…
It’s the toughest single decision I’ve ever had to make, hands down. I’m going to pick…
I’m just glad this whole thing is over, it’s really been very, very stressful [laughter]…
Throughout all the War Eagles and all the Go Tigers and throwing up the U of Miami, none compared to the two words that say it all, [throws on Georgia cap],
SI – By Andy Staples
…For his first sermon, Drew chose the story of Abraham and Isaac. His message: The lord will provide. Looking back, Drew believes the nervous first-time preacher needed to hear the message just as much as the flock did. “I didn’t know how I was going to deliver the sermon,” Drew said. “I didn’t know how people would react to it. All I knew was the lord will provide.”
Drew tells the congregation that everyone is guilty of forgetting the meaning of Christmas every once in a while. “They don’t even want you to write out the word Christmas anymore,” he says. “They want you to call it X-mas. How in the world are you going to cross Christ out of his own day? … We forgot what happened inside that manger. It’s time to get back to reality and remember the real reason for the season. It’s all about the inside.”
As his preaching skills grew, so did Drew. Playing for the same high school that produced Heisman Trophy winner-turned-NBA-star Charlie Ward, Drew grew into a 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback-wrecking machine. Drew is lean enough that he could add another 20 pounds and not lose a step.
He even brings church to the football field. After he makes a tackle, he doesn’t cuss the ballcarrier. He says “God bless you.” Drew believes that sometimes this unnerves opponents more than a stream of insults. “It gets in their head a little bit,” he said.
Still, Drew needs to develop his on-field mean streak. The young minister may have to act a little more Old Testament to overcome college offensive linemen.
For that, Drew couldn’t have a better hero. He relishes tales of the exploits of late Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers defensive end Reggie White. White, who was an ordained minister, used football to help spread his message of faith. But he never turned the other cheek on the field. Drew has learned that through conversations with White’s daughter, Jecolia.
In fact, some have suggested that Drew, who has yet to be ordained, might be the next Minister of Defense. Drew balks at the notion. There is only one Minister of Defense, and that’s White. Drew would prefer another nickname. “The Pastor of Pass Rush,” he said with a wide smile.
As Drew really gets rolling, he lapses into a half-talking, half-singing staccato that hypnotizes his audience. After each pause, the amens pour forth from the pews. “Anybody can dress up, but that doesn’t mean all is going well,” Drew says. “The $300 suit that you have on is worth about as much as the dirt.” With that line, Drew sets up the congregation for the big payoff.
The coach who signs Drew will get a player who can fill two positions — defensive end and chaplain. Eddie Edwards, the senior pastor at Paradise, believes Drew has a natural gift for preaching. “He’s just a soul-stirrer,” Edwards said. “It’s captivating how he allows the spirit to use him.”
Drew plans to play football for as long as he can, and he’d love to become a broadcaster when his career ends, but none of that will keep Drew from standing in the pulpit every chance he gets. Preaching, he said, is the most challenging and rewarding experience he can imagine. “Standing up in front of the congregation,” he said, “you’re responsible for someone’s soul.”
Drew has lathered up the crowd. Now it’s time to drive his message home. “Let’s just say that I didn’t have on this coat,” he sings as he takes off his suit jacket. “Would you look at me any different?” “Now what if I didn’t have on this tie?” he sings as he yanks off his tie. “Would you look at me any different?” “This shirt that I have on, it doesn’t make the person deep down inside of me,” he says, tugging at the buttons on his white dress shirt.
“Would you love me just the same if it look like I’d been beat within an inch of my life?” With this, Drew rips off his dress shirt to reveal a Thomas County Central football shirt that appears to have been shredded and dragged a mile down a dirt road. “Would you still look at me the same way if I looked like I’d been drug through the mud. Would you still love me? Would you still embrace me?”
“Somebody here is looking at my outward appearance right now, but I’m trying to get you to look past the outside and go deep down on the inside. Would you still throw your arms around me and say I love you? I’m still the same child of God that I was when I had on my suit, when I had on my tie and shirt.” “It’s not about what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside.”
The church rocks with applause. In the pew nearest the pulpit, Lizzie Mays is in heaven. The young man gets it. She offers an amen after every sentence. Pam Drew is beaming at her son. In the back of the church, Ray Drew Sr. can’t help but smile. A few minutes later, the younger Drew wraps up his message. “May God bless you and God keep you,” he says. “That’s my sermon. It’s not about what’s on the outside, but on the inside.”
As Drew steps aside, Rev. Edwards steps in. “The preacher done preached,” Edwards says. “Amen.”
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