He's ready now

Tight end, guard or even center, the best thing Trent Davidson has going for him in terms of recruiting is that he could project at any of several positions in college.

Rated probably the best blocking tight end prospect in the state, Davidson (6-5, 242, 4.66) could probably step in and help at that position as a true freshman.

"I've always played tight end in high school," Davidson said in an interview with BamaMag.com. "That's what I'll be looking at in college."

If he keeps growing, Trent Davidson could easily end up on the offensive line. Some scouts think guard may be his best long-term position, while others consider how smart Davidson is and predict center.

Playing for a powerhouse T.R. Miller program, Davidson didn't get many footballs throw his way. His prep coaches would occasionally get him in a pass pattern, but even then the quarterback didn't do a particularly good job delivering the football. But when Davidson did get a ball thrown his way, he displayed soft hands and potential catching the ball.

Trent Davidson (right) and Nick Walker (left) lock up during their playoff game. T.R. Miller fell just short on Pike County's home field, losing in overtime to the eventual state champions.

"I caught a couple," Davidson said of his role as a receiving tight end. "They threw a few my way, but T.R. Miller is not going to throw the football to the tight end that much.

"That was fine. I did my blocking. When I got a pass thrown my way, I was happy to get it."

A well-established program, accustomed to success in the state playoffs, T.R. Miller brought a large squad of athletes to its game against Pike County. But among the numerous players, Davidson was the tallest with the broadest shoulders.

One of the reasons we made the drive to Brundidge to see that particular game was the match-up between Davidson and Pike County's Nick Walker--both Tide commitments at tight end. Walker played both offense and defense for the smaller Pike County squad, and the two occasionally went head-to-head, though not often.

"I thought we had a good game, matched against each other a couple of times," Davidson said. "I managed to drive him out of bounds once or twice. That was an interesting preview of next year."

Both players are set at tight end, but they bring a different skill set to the position.

Davidson explained, "Nick's the kind of athlete that you split out and get him the ball as much as possible. I see myself as a blocking and catching tight end. He'll handle the split-out work. He's a great athlete."

Davidson observes the action from the sideline while he waits for the offense to take the field.

Utilizing his size and agility, T.R. Miller would line Davidson up on the strong side of the formation and then run behind his block. Other times they'd bring him in motion to head into the line as a lead blocker for the tailback.

Agility-wise, Tide fans should think "Clint Johnston but slightly taller and with broader shoulders." Of course it's that frame that has some scouts predicting that after a year or so in the weight room and at a college training table, Davidson will end up starring on the offensive line.

With the graduation of Nick Ridings, Alabama will be looking for help on special teams snapping the football. And Davidson could be the answer.

"I also handle long-snapping, field goals and punting," he said. "I haven't had a punt blocked in three years."

College coaches look for more than just size. More crucial is a feel for the game. In high school most big men dominate on size alone, which makes Davidson's aggressive streak important. Once his primary man was blocked, he commonly headed up-field looking for someone else to hit.

Donald Clarke has graduated, and to one degree or another David Cavan, Clint Johnston and Greg McLain all played injured this past season. The Tide clearly needs help at tight end.

"Everybody is kind of down on them, but I saw a lot of great things, a lot of good signs," Davidson said of his future team. "I thought there were a lot of good things they had going for them. I'll be looking to help out."

Along with Walker, Davidson committed to sign with Alabama relatively early in the recruiting process. Were he still "up for grabs" so to speak, the three-star prospect would be getting a lot more publicity than he is now. But Davidson doesn't regret the timing at all.

The pre-game coin toss featured a lot of top-flight talent. That's Davidson on the far right (#80), Walker on the far left (#15) and Chris Nickson in the middle (#1).

"I feel really good that I made that early decision," Davidson said. "It hurt to get eliminated from the state playoffs, but it's time to move on now. I'll personally get over the disappointment of losing and start working hard."

"My plan is to help out next year at Alabama.

RECRUITING NOTES: Both Davidson and Walker are committed and slated at least initially to play tight end. The Tide is also actively recruiting Prattville's Travis McCall (6-2, 235, 4.75), who played tight end in high school. But like Davidson and Walker, McCall could also play several other positions in college.

Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 22 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from TheInsiders.com.

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