Coming out of Spring Valley, California, Davis – a three-star recruit and the 33rd best safety in the country - he was not heavily sought after by the big schools on the west coast. Probably because he doesn't have the combine-friendly skills that tend to blow away the scouts: Davis is tall (6'2") and lacks the blazing speed that might better fit a Pac-10 style game (though running a 4.6 doesn't make him slow by any means). But he boasts a few characteristics that go beyond raw athleticism, which ultimately made him a perfect candidate to play at Boston College.
"I think I'm smarter than a lot of other players." Davis said. "I anticipate every play before it happens and I watch a lot of tape to prepare myself. I'm a great tackler, I've always emphasized tackling. But at the same time I can read plays really well when I'm back in coverage. I might not have the best skills or the most athleticism, but I just like to play football. I'm excited to get on the field – all those ratings become meaningless."
Yeah, he sounds like every other Tom O'Brien recruit to come into Chestnut Hill: He's "all about the team," he'll do "whatever the coaches want me to do," he claims BC's academics played a big factor in his decision to commit. Davis is just another disciplined, defensive-minded, under-the-radar prospect to be tossed on the pile. But certain things stand out about him.
He says all the right things, but not because he's been programmed. He speaks as though coming to BC (located about 3,000 miles away from his home) was all his idea and no one else's. The "big-conference" competition that comes with playing in the ACC is what will get Davis the big-time exposure that he wants. Sure, Chestnut Hill is about as far away from Spring Valley as you can get without leaving the country, but Davis doesn't see that as a setback.
"It's a great opportunity to meet new people," Davis said as he quickly fired off a thousand reasons why BC is a good fit for him. "It's a big-time school in a big-time conference. The west coast was showing me love, but I got an offer [from the Eagles] right away and I took it."
Although he seems mature enough and his outstanding tackling ability suggests he's ready for the next level, Davis might have to redshirt this year because the safety spots are filled with upper-classmen. Of course, he says he'll do whatever will help the team (and sounds sincere), but he knows he could play right now if he got the chance.
At 6-foot-2" and 208 pounds, Davis has grown an inch and gained almost 30 pounds since last spring. He was always one of the biggest players on the field in high school and loved to hit more than anything, which was a scary combination for opposing receivers. But college, especially the ACC, is a lot different: Receivers and running backs are much bigger and Davis knows he has to match their strength.
Davis compares his game to that of Darren Sharper, a safety for the Minnesota Vikings who, as Davis says, "doesn't have the fastest 40 time but is always in the right spot at the right time." Sharper's ability to read defenses and react quickly, Davis says, makes up for any lack of athleticism and allowed him to pick up nine interceptions last season. Davis collected 14 picks over his last two years in high school, a total he feels speaks volumes about his all-around game.
The things that have made Sharper so successful are the same things Davis claims to possess. Things like preparation, instinct, knowledge, and leadership don't show up as often at the combine, but they do during the game, when it matters. If Davis can give the Eagles all that, I'd call that a steal.