Now it can be said that linebacker Ben Davis of Gordo was going to Alabama all along. But until he donned a hidden houndstooth fedora that his family had purchased only the day before, there was some tension in the otherwise jubiliant high school gymnasium on whether the nation’s top ranked linebacker would follow his famous father and sign with the Crimson Tide.
Ben Davis, a 6-4, 235-pound Scout five-star, had a drama-filled pre-announcement. He was wearing a neutral suit and bowtie and arranged on the table in front of him were caps from Notre Dame, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, and Alabama. Prior to his announcement, a medley of the fight songs of each school played through the intercom, “Yea, Alabama!” drawing by far the biggest response from Gordo students and faculty, and townspeople from the town about 25 miles from Tuscaloosa.
When Davis got the sign from live television coverage, he reached under the table and brought out the houndstooth hat. As he held a football with the Alabama ‘A’ on it, he made his announcement, and it took about 10 seconds. He planned to spend the next few years at Alabama. That gave the Crimson Tide the nation’s number one inside linebacker in the signing class of 2016.
Davis later said that he didn’t make his final decision until “I woke up this morning. I prayed about it last night.” In the end, he said, he decided that Bama was “Where would I want to wake up every day. Alabama just felt right.”
His father, all-time Alabama linebacker star and Crimson Tide leader in tackles, Wayne Davis (who also starred at Gordo before going to Bama), wasn’t so sure the decision went down to the wire, but said that he agreed with his son going through the process. “I don’t believe he decided this morning,” Wayne said. “I believe from the start Bama was in the mix.”
Wayne said he wanted Ben to talk all his official visits, in part to make sure there weren’t coaching changes that affected his thoughts. He also wanted all of the coaches at the schools he wanted to consider would know that Ben was serious about going through the process.”
“Everything confirmed what I knew,” Wayne said. “I had no doubts Ben was going to go to The University of Alabama. But I wanted him to enjoy the process.
“He made the right decision. No doubt about it.”
Ben said, “My parents (both mother and father are Bama graduates) let me go through the process.” And, he said, that he enjoyed his visits to Alabama’s in-state rival Auburn, which he indicated finished second txo the Tide.
He said his goal at Alabama is to be a good player who can help win championships.
“I know I’m going to have to work hard,” he said. “They play good football at Alabama.”
He called Coach Nick Saban “a great coach, one of the greatest of all time. He let me know that I have work to do, but said he thinks I can be a great player.
Wayne Davis said, “Under Coach Nick Saban, Ben is going to get great discipline and great coaching.
“Ben has the exact attitude a player should have: Be the best player you can be by working to be the best and help your team win championships.”
The problem of following his famous father, who had a record 327 career tackles in the mid-1980s, was not an issue. “It was not an uncommon subject around the Davis house,” Wayne said. “Ben knows the record I have.
“I want him to be better than I was.
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“I can’t think of a better place for him to mature.”