Mark Richt announced this week that Georgia will be without starting defensive end Abry Jones Saturday against Florida, and in Jones’ place, sophomore Ray Drew will get an opportunity to prove himself.
John Kelley/UGA Sports Communications
Defensive end Ray Drew will start in place of the injured Abry Jones on Saturday against No. 3 Florida.
Richt said Wednesday that Drew will receive plenty of snaps against the No. 3 Gators.
“I think he is (ready),” Richt said. “He’s played some, just in a pecking order, and he hasn’t gotten many snaps.”
Drew, a highly-touted recruit from Thomasville, has seen a limited role this season behind Jones and several other talented linemen. With Jones out with an ankle injury, Drew, along with Garrison Smith, Cornelius Washington and John Jenkins, will see an increased role at defensive end.
“Honestly, I think I’m ready,” Drew said of his opportunity. “I don’t doubt myself as a player. I don’t doubt my coaching staff. I know they’ve done everything they can. I’ve done everything I can.”
Drew earned SEC freshman of the week honors last season after finishing with a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss against Vanderbilt. This season, Drew has five tackles, but his last tackle came Sept. 29 against Vanderbilt.
The 6-foot-5, 284-pound Drew moved from outside linebacker to defensive end prior to this season, and he looks forward to playing in his new role against the undefeated Gators.
“For the most part, I don’t want to say that I’m nervous,” Drew said. “I’m more excited than anything. I’m ready for it. It’s been hard for me to sleep the last few nights. I’m just looking forward to the game.”
Richt added, “I’m looking forward to see what (Drew) does.”
With Georgia in a battle for the SEC East and Drew in a battle for increased playing time, the sophomore knows what is at stake Saturday in Jacksonville.
“This is what I’ve been waiting on,” Drew said. “This is why you come to school to play football — to play in big games like this. It’s time to put up or shut up. That’s the way I’m looking at it.”