Drew, amiable and polite, hasn’t let either his or his team’s success go to his head, even with his impressive numbers this fall.
He leads the nation in punt returns with an average of 30.85 that includes three long touchdowns. The Bruins’ junior is No. 2 in the country in scoring at 13.71 points a game, with four touchdown receptions and nine by rushing. He is averaging 185.57 all-purpose yards a game to lead UCLA to a 7-0 record.
Now Los Angeles has three Heisman Trophy contenders, with Drew joining USC’s Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush among the nation’s best players.
UCLA running backs coach Eric Bieniemy, who recruited Drew, said the grandfather’s influence on Drew is evident.
“He’s very kind with his words, very humble, very well-spoken and doesn’t take anything for granted,” Bieniemy said. “Just like his grandfather.”
Maurice Jones’ background as a probation officer made him well-versed in the ways of the world, so he had a lot to pass along to his grandson.
“He always taught me that no matter how big you are, or what the sport is, it’s how big your heart is,” said Drew, who at 5-foot-8, 205 pounds was overlooked by many recruiters.
Among the other bits of wisdom, Drew recalled:
Drew said his grandfather, who had had heart problems, seemed even to prepare him for his death.
“He had called me on Thursday before the game and was telling me how he wasn’t feeling too good,” Drew recalled. “I guess he was kind of getting me ready. When I heard what had happened, that passed through my mind. By the time I got to the hospital, he had passed.”
UCLA coach Karl Dorrell had sent Drew off the field immediately to join his family.
“I was the one who broke the news to him. I’ve never had to do anything like that,” Dorrell said. “It was hard.”
After an interview, Drew is off to hit the books, mentioning that he got an A on a recent essay and hopes to be an academic All-American.
“That’s for my grandmother. That’s her thing,” he said, smiling.
CFT: Former Penn State signalcaller Steven Bench joined the South Florida Bulls, he announced on Twitter.
CFT: The University of Nevada is honoring longtime coach Chris Ault, who stepped down in the fall, by renaming the school's football field after him.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
HBO Real Sports: Bill O'Brien
Penn State football coach and 2012 National Coach of the Year shares the challenges in turning around a program shattered by scandal. Real Sports premieres Tuesday, May 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
BCS title game
Pregame color, key plays and other moments from 'Bama's blowout win.
Check out the action from the postseason.
Check out which players were best of the best at each position.
Check out some of the college football cheerleaders from across the country.