Greenville, Ala.--It’s still a long way until February, but the Auburn Tigers struck first in the battle to land big-time defensive lineman Marlon Davidson when he chose Gus Malzahn’s program on Friday.
Choosing Auburn over Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Clemson, Florida State, LSU and Michigan, Davidson said one of the biggest reasons he chose the Tigers was his relationship and comfort level with the Auburn staff.
“It’s like they all knew each other before,” Davidson said of Auburn’s defensive staff that consists of Will Muschamp, Rodney Garner, Travaris Robinson and Lance Thompson. “It’s like they are brothers. They can sit in a room and talk all day and just have a great time.
" It’s amazing because you never think coaches really get along like that. Coaches just sit down in the defensive room and just talk. That’s the coaches I want to surround myself with. Those are coaches I would love to be around.”
The younger brother of former Auburn defensive lineman and current support staff member Kenneth Carter, Davidson has made more than a dozen trips to the Plains since his first camp visit two years ago. Since that time he has continued to build a strong bond with the coaches, something that paid off for Auburn in the end.
"They are just so exciting," Davidson said. "I won't even text them or tweet them sometimes because I knew if I did I probably would have done something earlier. I'm so in love with Auburn. My family loves Auburn and everybody.
"T Rob is such a cool guy," he added. "He's not all about the football world, him and Coach Garner. It's football once it gets to that point, but at the end of the day it's education and that's what you want to build around. I would rather build around education first and sports later. That's what I preach now and that's what my family preaches, education first."
Part of that Auburn staff is his older brother and mentor. A guy he's looked up to since his playing days at Auburn, Carter has been a constant reminder of what waited for him on the Plains and it's something he wants to be part of.
"It was very important to me," Davidson said. "My brother is one of the best guys around here. Me and him might not see eye to eye all the time, but we're real tight. I know it's been hard for him being in Auburn and me in Greenville and knowing he's got to put up with the questions."
Planning to graduate in December and enroll early at Auburn, Davidson said he plans to take several official visits this fall but his mind is set on being a Tiger and playing early in 2015.
"It's great because now I get to come in at the right moment, at the right time," Davidson said. "It's the right moment to be able to actually potentially start. I want to start on a big level because that would make it easier for me my junior year because I'm already in the rotation and everything is going right."
Rated the No. 41 player in the country and the sixth defensive end, Davidson becomes Auburn’s 13th commitment for the 2016 class and the third defensive lineman joining Daquan Newkirk and Tashawn Manning.
Davidson is really how you draw up a strongside end. Someone who can set the edge, play the run, and be very effective as a pass rusher. Anticipation off the ball can be a little better, but he plays fast, and he really knows how to close on the quarterback. Really flashes violent hands and when he stays low, he is tough to handle. Very good frame and has good reaction quickness. Needs to add moves off the ball and not be, just power.
What It Means For Auburn
Looking to add as many as six defensive linemen in this class, Auburn added a big piece of the puzzle on Friday with the addition of Davidson. A physical defensive lineman, Davidson could play defensive end but has the size to move inside down the line in Auburn’s 3-4 scheme. Putting him opposite Byron Cowart in future Auburn defenses should be a fun thing to watch for the Tigers.