NEWS, NOTES &
The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
By Bethany Bradsher
Drew masters the art of the
All rights reserved.
(ECU Media Relations)
If football has a version of using both sides of
your brain, it looks a little like this: Going from blocking in the trenches
to a finesse reception in the open field.
For a prime example of this gridiron
multitasking, see East Carolina senior Davon Drew. By redefining the role of
tight end and giving the Pirates new offensive versatility, Drew is helping
to power his team and getting plenty of national attention in the process.
“There are not many guys out there that can do
both,” said ECU tight ends coach Phil Petty. “They block the same guys that
offensive tackles are blocking, 270-80 pound defensive ends, and then to be
fast in the open field and run sharp routes and catch a 12-ounce football.
"Those things sound easy
but they’re not.”
Rated as the 15th best
tight end prospect in the nation by one scouting service and the 24th best
by another, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Drew has been turning heads with his
strong grasp of the position he only started playing two years ago. The
former quarterback out of New Bern High has found the position he was born
“I feel like this is the
position I started with, as if I was a little kid,” he said “This is what
I’m here to do.”
And because he has been
hitting on all cylinders this season — Drew has collected 10 passes this
season including his 39-yard touchdown grab against North Carolina State —
he is helping ECU field the type of offense that frustrates opposing
defenses, said head coach Skip Holtz.
“When they’re on spread,
they’re going to go to nickel, when we’re in tight, they’re going to turn
and get out of nickel and go to base,” Holtz said. “They don’t know what
we’re going to be in with a guy like Davon. He’s running some of the best
routes on the team right now.”
Drew, who is on pace to
shatter his 2007 total of 19 catches, is running such clean routes and
playing so athletically that he is actually one of the Pirates’ top
receivers, Holtz said, and the touchdown against the Wolfpack was really a
flexed out wide receiver route.
A driven senior who knows
his chance to nudge the Pirates to their goal is now, Drew is always
searching for new ways to help his team into the end zone.
“I think I’m a little
better on the passing game, so that’s why I work on my run blocking a lot,”
Drew said. “It’s just working on your weaknesses.”
When Holtz and his staff
arrived on the scene, the personnel didn’t permit them to install a true
tight end model. They converted Drew, who was listed as a reserve
quarterback in 2005 but did not play the entire season, into a tight end
with the hopes that he could fill the role with that odd and magical
combination of toughness and grace.
To help himself along in
this self-improvement project, Drew hit the weight room and gained more than
40 pounds, making him a formidable presence in the backfield and on the
line. And even if he is fulfilling a wish that his coaches have long had for
their offense, Drew has reached this point entirely under the power of his
own will, said Holtz.
“He bought into this
move, and he’s really made himself into a great tight end,” Holtz said. “All
that credit goes to him for all the hard work and energy and effort he’s put
into the last three years.”
Drew would love to meet
expectations that put him on the board for the 2009 NFL draft, but his
immediate goals have nothing to do with professional football and everything
to do with a Conference USA championship.
His coaches, meanwhile,
like the example he is setting for young players like freshman tight end
Michael Byrd, a 6-4, 245 player from Thomasville.
“He’s a team guy,” Petty
said. “He’s a hard worker. I don’t ever have to ask him to do something
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09/24/2008 01:28:59 AM