Who was the leader for Georgia on defense last season? Sure, Justin Houston was a terrific talent, but off-the-field issues deterred his last season in Athens. Akeem Dent led the team in tackles with 126, but was he the heart and soul of the team? One could argue he had the quietest 120-plus tackles season of anyone in the SEC.
What about in 2009? Rennie Curran led the team with 130 tackles and was known for his leadership in the weightroom and the practice field. His passion is unquestioned, but was he the undisputed leader? Jeff Owens was the most vocal player on the field, but his play was a little more soft spoken as he recovered from a knee injury the previous season.
Truth be told, I think you would have to go back to the David Pollack years to find a truly undisputed leader for the Georgia Bulldogs defense. Fortunately, I don’t think we’ll have to wait much longer for the next vocal and physical leader. I think he’s already in Athens.
He is freshman Ray Drew.
Drew made headlines several times this spring; first for his recruiting speech that played an integral part in the assembly of the Dream Team and then again for his run at the state discus record. His speech caught the attention of many both for its content and its style and in the end his “come to Georgia” message was heard loud and clear by fellow recruits. His discus-throwing campaign ended in a state championship.
However, Drew is never satisfied. After winning the title at the state track and field meet, he was admittedly disappointed having come up short against the state’s all-time record. First place wasn’t good enough; he wanted to be the greatest of all time.
That type of attitude has been all too absent in Athens for the past several seasons. While Ray Drew may not start this season I do expect him to get significant playing time, and I expect him to perform with excellence because that is the standard he has set for himself and his teammates.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Ray Drew is an ordained minister. I also expect vocal leadership from him immediately and I think that he will be the undisputed leader of this defense in another year or two. I’m looking forward to big things from the Pastor of Disaster.