Auburn, Ala.--This is the moment that Auburn freshman defensive lineman Marlon Davidson has been preparing for since he first stepped on the football field. Always watching older brother Kenneth Carter and learning from him every step of the way, Davidson developed the work ethic and was prepared for life on the college level when that opportunity came.
Now he’s on the Auburn campus and already making a good impression on his teammates and coaches. Working his way up to the first team as the Tigers continue to rotate guys in and out of different groups, Davidson is seeing time at defensive end and also tackle in some pass rush situations.
That has given him the chance to work against plenty of different offensive linemen on the other side, including one of Auburn’s best, redshirt junior guard Alex Kozan. One of the best guards in the SEC and now back to form with a year of play under his best, Kozan said Davidson has definitely been a guy that has caught his eye already this spring.
“Marlon Davidson has really impressed me,” Kozan said. “I’ve been here five years, and as far as freshmen coming in to play, especially in the spring, he’s as good as I’ve seen. Marlon Davidson has really impressed me. He’s got to keep working, keep improving, but he’s solid. I think he’s ready to play now.”
Marlon Davidson is a big, physical freshman
That has been the goal for Davidson since he first started attending Auburn camps as a sophomore at Greenville High School. Always big and physical, he has worked hard on the details in his game such as using his hands and keeping leverage. Those are the finer points of the game that many freshmen linemen don’t have yet, but coordinator Kevin Steele said Davidson arrived ready to roll.
“He is a guy that's very physically, mentally and emotionally mature for a guy that should be going to his senior prom in the next week or so,” Steele said. “If you'd watched it and didn't know, you'd think he'd been around for a couple of years and that's the biggest thing. Now, does he have a lot to learn? Absolutely, but he is physically, mentally and emotionally very mature and that helps him.”
Two players who were in the same boat as Davidson just a few years back also recognize how far along the young player is. Playing a key role for the Tigers as a defensive end in his true freshman season, Carl Lawson is now one of the elder statesmen of the group and definitely a leader in the huddle. Watching Davidson, Lawson said the thing that stands out about him is that he brings it every day in practice.
“He's come out there and every day has practiced like a pro, just keep practicing consistently every day and works hard to get better,” Lawson said. “Consistency in a young guy is really hard to find, and that's what he's been able to do. He's been able to be consistent, and every day come out here and try to get better. He takes coaching. When he gets coached hard, a lot of young guys that don't take it very well. He's been prepped for it.”
Now that he’s made an early impact the next thing for Davidson is to continue improving. That will be a must if he hopes to remain a player the Tigers will count on next season because he’ll face plenty of challenges along the way from guys like Byron Cowart, Jeff Holland and Paul James. That’s something that makes a player better said senior Montravius Adams and he hasn’t seen Davidson back down one bit so far.
“Right now, I think him coming in early, that was a good thing,” Adams said. “Of the people he came in with, he's at the top. He's a competitor. Everything he does, he competes.
“In this league, that's just what you have to do," Adams added. "I think with him doing that, he's just going to keep getting better. The sky is the limit.”