Meet America’s Jewish Football Star: Drew Ferris

Drew Ferris’s road to success was not an easy one. Ferris, a graduate  of San Diego Jewish Academy first arrived at the University of Florida in the summer of 2010 as a walk-on, despite being ranked as the 14th best long snapper in the nation by prominent long snapping Coach Chris Rubio.

During the 2010 season Ferris struggled to get playing time and only dressed for the following games: Miami University, USF, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Appalachian State and arch-rival Florida State. After working really hard and getting his coaches attention,  Farris received a scholarship from Head Coach Will Muschamp. He would then go on to start every single game in the 2011 season as the long snapper for both the field goal and punt teams.

Unfortunately in the beginning of the 2012 season, Drew suffered a season-ending injury in his collar-bone and is currently rehabbing for the upcoming season.

So what is so impressive about Ferris’s time with the Gators? Well, it may not be an easy thing to hear, but there are not a lot of active Jewish football players. Out of all professional and collegiate sports in the United States it will be very hard for one to find a person of Jewish faith playing for a major college powerhouse program such as the University of Florida. After all, the Gators who were led by icon QB Tim Tebow have won two national championship games in the past decade. In addition, the Gators home stadium Ben Hill Griffin seats over 88,000 screaming fans.

I recently had the chance to talk to Drew about his time with the Gators, his relationship with Israel and his future plans after football.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to play football?

DF: I first decided I wanted to play football when I was in 6th grade. I wanted to play Pop Warner really badly. I looked up to college and NFL players.

Q: Did you ever dream of playing Division I level at such a prestigious program?

DF: I dreamed of playing at the Division I level when I was 8. My parents didn’t let me play football until 6th grade.

Q: What is your favorite thing about your position?

DF: My favorite thing about my position is how important it is, but at the same time how overlooked and taken for granted it is.

Q: What is your reaction when you hear that there are almost no Jewish athletes in the NFL and college football compared to other sports?

DF: My reaction to that is, I know Jewish people aren’t known for athletics, especially football, so I’m definitely not surprised to hear that.

Q: Do you have any connection with Israel?

DF: I have a connection with Israel. I was there for one month at the end of my senior year of high school with my senior class. I loved the experience and got to realize the importance of Israel. I am currently taking a Hebrew class to become more fluent.

Editors Note: Drew’s sister Kate is in Israel right now studying at the IDC in the communications program and helped secure this interview.

Q: Who do you look up to in your life?

DF: I look up to my father, mother, my old high school basketball coach, Coach Shoemaker, and my long-snapping instructor, Chris Rubio.

Q: Do you have a plan for when college is over?

DF: When college is over, I have thought about spending time in Israel for a summer, but I want to get a job being a medical sales rep, human resources, or do some sort of research in the field of addiction and self-control.

Q: What is like battling back from injury?

DF: Battling back from injury is really tough. It takes a lot of focus and determination to get back in the mind set of playing. It is hard to watch from the sidelines, especially when I had big plans for myself this year. But, it definitely made me a stronger person.


About the Author
Raphael is the founder of Gellar Sports Radio and is a contributor to The Times of Israel. Raphael has interviewed scores of sports figures including, ESPN’s Dan Shulman, Marc Stein, Tommy Smyth, 3-time World Series Champ Curt Schilling, Butler Coach Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics President Richard Gotham and 7 time Emmy award winner Jim Williams among others. Raphael also hosts a soccer show on World Football Daily and 106.2fm. You can tweet him @raphaelg23