It doesn’t take long to understand what truly makes Ardrey Kell (N.C.) tight end Drew Owens so special.
Sure, he’s 6-foot-5, 232 pounds, possesses great athleticism and has tremendous ball skills, but it’s his maturity that may ultimately make him a star on Saturdays.
“Obviously he has a great toolset physically,” Kell coach Adam Hastings said. “He has great feet, good hips, he’s able to run and to stretch. He’s got great hands.
“He’s really developed in the offseason into a leader. He only missed one day of workouts. Other than that, he was there every day. He was a leader to the young guys and the other seniors out there. He’s developed that part of his personality and that part of his game, which has made him a more complete player.”
Owens has narrowed his list of suitors to five: South Carolina, N.C. State, North Carolina, Clemson and Virginia Tech.
Unlike many other top uncommitted recruits – Owens is widely considered one of the top-15 prospects in the Tar Heel state – he doesn’t plan on allowing the recruiting process to stretch in 2011. In an effort to help the four schools that miss out on his services, he wants to commit in October or early November, giving them time to find another available tight end.
“Right now they are pretty even right now,” Owens said. “I’m just trying to keep it level, just play my cards and be able to make the right decision for me.”
Owens likes certain qualities about each of his finalists.
At N.C. State, he likes the coaching staff and the potential for the program to improve. He likes North Carolina’s recent growth as a program and history of putting tight ends into the NFL. He likes Clemson’s recent success, and he likes the physicality that Virginia Tech plays with.
The Gamecocks have been recruiting him for months now, and those efforts have paid off. Owens’ USC recruiter, Jay Graham, has made an impression.
“I’ll start with South Carolina,” Owens said when asked to discuss his finalists. “I like their offense. I like coach Spurrier. I like their movement and how they are progressing as a team. I think they can be a real threat in the SEC. They are a hard-working team, and they pass the ball to the tight end. They use him a lot.”
Owens has the skill set to become a two-way threat at tight end.
Though not quite as fast, he is comparable as a pass catcher to former Gamecock Jared Cook. However, Owens will probably be a better blocker once he begins to add some weight.
“I’ve been working to be a balanced ball player, more of 50-50 pass catching and run blocking,” he said. “… I think I can stretch the defense and be a reliable and valuable piece of the offense.”
“His upside is amazing, just physically the part of it,” he said. “What’s happening for him this season and what happened this offseason is that he is meeting that potential and filling in. … He’s really bulked up a lot and gotten a lot stronger. He’s showing some glimpses of somebody who could develop into what any college in America runs offensively.”