Auburn, Ala.--Not many true freshman fit right into the starting lineup in major college football, especially in the SEC. However, Auburn defensive end Marlon Davidson is defying the odds since he burst onto the scene Week One vs. the Clemson Tigers, and the Greenville native shows no signs of slowing down.
“It’s a blessing,” said Davidson when asked about all of the early playing time he has received in his short career so far. “It’s a blessing from God and a blessing from the coaches that actually have faith in me to come out here and play at an SEC level and play against great competition.”
Davidson starts alongside upperclassmen Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson and two-year sophomore starter Dontavius Russell. Based on his performance through the first five games it would be hard to tell that Davidson is the least experienced of the four d-linemen.
“I think it’s my attitude,” Davidson said when explaining how he has earned this starting opportunity. “I just want to do my best and really just help the team in any possible way that I can.”
Davidson came into the contest with Louisiana-Monroe with 10 total tackles, including two for losses and one 1/2 sacks. He added two more tackles to his totals on Saturday as his team cruised to a 58-7 Homecoming victory over the Warhawks.
The 6-3, 273-pound defensive end gave plenty of credit after the game to defensive line coach Rodney Garner and former defensive tackle and current graduate assistant Kenneth Carter. Carter is Davidson’s brother and according to Marlon he has been “very valuable” since Davidson’s arrival on the Plains.
“He’s been showing me the ropes,” Davidson said. “He’s showing me what he did and what he should have done, and that helps me a lot. I’m 18 years old and I’m out here in a big world trying to play football and be a big superstar one day. With him here showing me the way it’s great.”
Davidson also made sure to point out that he looks up to his partners in crime on the defensive line.
“I’m still a long way from (their level),” Davidson admitted. “They have done a lot for Auburn. I’m just trying to get in there and fit in their shoes wherever I can. To be beside Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams is weird because I’ve always looked up to them watching them play last year and the year before.”
He said in particular that Adams and Lawson have taught him a lot about playing at the college level.
“Staying humble and just going through the process,” Davison answered when asked about what he has learned from the veteran d-linemen. “Being around them and learning from them as they go through the NFL draft (will be helpful).”
The freshman said he believes that his technique has improved since the first game against last year’s national runner-up thanks in large part to Coach Garner and even though Davidson is still getting adjusted to Garner’s coaching and teaching style, he loves “every minute of it.”
Marlon was also very appreciative of the fans’ support through the first five games of his career.
“It’s love (at Jordan-Hare Stadium),” said Davidson. “The fans show you so much love during Tiger Walk and when you make a big play. It’s just fun being in Jordan-Hare.”
Looking ahead to next Saturday, Davidson will experience his first road game when the Tigers travel to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Davis Wade Stadium (11 a.m. CDT, SEC Network).
“I know it’s going to be hectic,” noted Davidson. “I actually went to Mississippi State two years ago (for a recruiting visit) and I know about the cowbells and everything. It’ll be a great experience for me to actually have my first away game.”