Keivonnis Davis was a ‘Randy Shannon Special’ as signing day neared in 2015. Jim McElwain was in his first couple of months on the job and his staff was trying to fill some holes in a class that had less than two months to really take shape.
In comes Shannon and his eye for talent, but also his ability to recruit in South Florida and namely Miami. Davis was committed to Oregon State, but Shannon knew of him and thought he was someone the Gators could really us on the roster.
Davis switched his commitment in the last week leading up to signing day. It was a no-brainer for a Miami kid to switch from Oregon State to Florida.
After signing, it was a challenge to get him on campus. Davis didn’t arrive with most of the freshmen in June, but instead needed a little extra time to get all of his coursework on par and enrolled a week into fall camp.
Being so far behind the eight ball, a redshirt was on course for Davis. That was the plan until just four games left in the season. A rash of injuries popped up for Florida and the best fix for the Gators was to drop the redshirt from Davis and they did. He played against FAU in his first game and recorded a season high three tackles against the Owls.
A pass rushing specialist, Davis played in all 13 games in 2016 and started five. He totaled 27 tackles, three tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks. Five quarterback hurries and one forced fumble.
If there has been an issue with the way he plays, it has been giving up the edge on run plays to his side. Forced into playing early, his career clock at Florida is already halfway through, and now Florida defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator Chris Rumph sees progress and wants more.
"He's getting better, man,” Rumph said this spring. “Keivonnis, he's learning the defense. He's playing fast. He's got to play fast every day. He's still just slow sometimes trying to read things instead of just going."
Davis is part of a defensive end group that is the deepest unit on the team now with talent and numbers. Despite the competition, expect him to get plenty of time on the field and more than he has had in the past. He will be a solid part of the gators success in 2017.