Coach Speak: Shawn Brown on Jahrvis Davenport

Maryland secured a commitment from Robinson Senior (Tampa, Fla.) receiver Jahrvis Davenport June 20, and afterwards we spoke to his head coach, Shawn Brown, to get a better gauge of what the Terps are getting in the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder.

Maryland secured a commitment from Robinson Senior (Tampa, Fla.) receiver Jahrvis Davenport June 20, and afterwards we spoke to his head coach, Shawn Brown, to get a better gauge of what the Terps are getting in the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder.

Here's our Q&A session with him:

Terrapin Times:I always like to start by asking coaches to break down a player's game. What does Jahrvis bring to the table?

Shawn Brown: I've been coaching 15 years down here in Florida and there are a lot of really talented players, and he's one of the best. He was born to play slot receiver. His hands, his routes are so precise, and he's so explosive. Maryland got a really, really good player. He had 27 offers from schools, and he's going to a school that's a long way from home. But he was very impressed with the school and he's going to be great for them. I mean, you get him the ball and he's five yards up the field like that. He's very, very, very quick, and he makes it easy for his coaches and the offensive coordinator. Just get him the ball and let him make a play.

TT: He compared himself to a Marquise Lee type of receiver. Is that a pretty good comparison?

SB: Exactly like that. He's very quick like that and gets upfield in a hurry. He's not a super vertical threat, but he has awesome start-stop speed and acceleration. And he's pretty thick, so he's not your typical slot receiver. Some slot receivers have to come out when they're in the red zone because they can't make the catches in traffic and take the physical pounding down there.

But Jahrvis is extremely thick and durable, and he has exceptionally long arms. He's heavy at 185 pounds right now and by the time he gets to Maryland he'll probably be around 200. So he can go get it in traffic, and he's not afraid to absorb a hit and he doesn't shy away from contact. He does not fear going over the middle or operating in close quarters in the red zone, so that's going to make him very effective for Maryland.

Also, he's got exceptional lower-body strength which makes him hard to tackle. His build, he has such a strong base that you can't wrap him up or arm tackle him. You literally have to hit him squarely to bring him down.

TT: And what does Jahrvis have to do to pick his game up a notch?

SB: Like most receivers, I want him to block better. That's something you have to deal with at college. In high school we want them to catch the ball first and concentrate on that. But in college a lot of guys can catch, but if you don't block you don't play. So that's one area I think he needs to pick up.

TT: I know he said Marquise Lee, but is there a player you personally can compare him to?

SB: I mean, you can think of like a Percy Harvin. He's not as fast as Percy, but we use him like Seattle uses Harvin. You can put Jahrvis in the slot, in the backfield or out wide and just get him the ball and let him make a play. He can do jet sweeps, hitch routes, slants – pass him the ball or hand it off to him. Just get it to him a million different ways and let him go.

TT: How did the recruiting process go with Jahrvis? When did Coach Mike Locksley first come in contact with you and how did it go down with Maryland?

SB: I have to think about that because it was crazy -- Jahrvis got an offer every single day in spring football. I mean on May 1 he got five offers, and he got at least one a day after that. By the end of the period he had 27.

So it was pretty crazy, but I think in mid-May Coach Locksley came down to watch his spring game. I think [Locksley] heard from a coach down here that he knew about Jahrvis, so he came over to see him and offered after that. I know they stayed in touch, and Jahrvis really liked [Locksley] and decided Maryland was a school he wanted to visit.

Then after the [evaluation] period ended, I told Jahrvis to pick five schools that he wanted to visit, come back and then make a decision if he knew where he wanted to go. Well, he visited a couple schools down here, he visited Marshall, and then he got to College Park. And he didn't even make it back [to Florida] before committing. That's how impressed he was with Maryland. In fact, he's staying up there for the weekend just hanging out. He absolutely loved it, and his mom did too.

TT: Does he have family up here or anything?

SB: Nope. None at all. I mean, I was just as surprised as everyone else that he chose Maryland. I mean, the USF staff thought they were the front-runners. Then he had Wake Forest, which he really liked, and Georgia Tech, where he has a ton of family.

But, you know, I have kids in schools all over the country, and I always tell them, pick five schools, go visit, and at the end you'll know. You'll know which one fits you best. Like, last year we had a kid down here go all the way out to Wyoming on a visit, and I was thinking, well there's no way he goes there. But wouldn't you know it the kid signed with them and now he's wearing yellow and gold.

Sometimes the kids have to take official visits after their senior year and go that route, but more often than not, they know when it feels right in the summer.

So I was a little surprised Jahrvis chose Maryland, but he just felt right up there. He really connected with Coach [Randy] Edsall, Coach Locksley and the receivers' coach [Keenan McCardell] too. He fell in love with the place, and he and his mom were so excited about the school.

And I'm excited too. Like I said, I have kids all over the country but I never had one go to Maryland. So now I'm looking forward to getting up there and spending some time in College Park. I'm excited about it.

TT: Did he impart one thing that sold him on Maryland? Did he tell you anything that really separated the school?

SB: He didn't say one thing, he just felt that's where he belonged. He liked the environment and just felt it. I told him to think about it, talk to your mom, come back and think things over, but Jahrvis was like, ‘Coach, I can't leave here without committing.' That's how strongly he felt about Maryland. He might have called me six times today to talk to me about it, and finally he was like, ‘I'm going to [commit].' So he called Coach Edsall and it was a done deal. Maryland got a good one.

TT: I know Jahrvis came up to varsity as a freshman. When did you know he was going to be an FBS recruit?

SB: He was a starter on varsity as a freshman – he didn't just play on varsity. The only reason he was on jayvee for a game or two is because we were so deep at receiver. We had one receiver go to Buffalo and another to USF, so we were stacked there. But Jahrvis forced his way up; we had to bring him up here. I mean, this is a kid who looks like he's 20 years old and plays like a kid about to head to college – not some freshman. You're talking about a guy who was not only fast, but who had a 39 inch vertical leap, breaks tackles and catches everything thrown at him. So by his freshman or sophomore year I knew he was going to be a player.

And he's just gotten so much better since then with his route running, he's stronger, he's more aware on the field, he's quicker. If you look at his most recent highlights, they're impressive and that was from six months ago. He's so much better now with all the work he's put in.

So by the time this kid gets to college, oh man, he's going to make the Maryland fans very happy. They got themselves a super player, a real good one. I never would've thought they would have pulled it off. But credit their coaches, Coach Edsall, Coach Locksley and all those guys for getting him up there.

TT: I always like to ask coaches if there's a play that stands out that sort of illustrates a player. Is there one you can point to with Jahrvis?

SB: Look at his first play on Hudl. He goes over the middle, breaks like 10 tackles and goes in for a touchdown – it's one of the best high school plays you're going to see. We're playing a team where like everyone on the defense went to the Division I level, and look at what Jahrvis does to them. He goes right into the teeth of the defense, catches the pass, breaks a bunch of tackles and then pulls away for a touchdown. That's Jahrvis Davenport for you.

TT: And what kind of a guy is Jahrvis? He seems like a very humble, soft-spoken young man?

SB: You got it. Jahrvis is confident in himself but he's not going to brag or boast about his physical abilities. He's all about the team first and doing what's best for the team. He has a strong support system, and he really is a terrific young man and a pleasure to be around.

Jahrvis is actually living with an adopted family now, and he's a real good kid just learning from them. He has good grades, he's qualified and he's very respectful in general.

As far as in the locker room, Jahrvis is developing into a leader. He's kind of quiet and likes to keep to himself, but he's becoming more vocal and learning how to be a leader. But right now he plays hard, works hard and wants to win. Jahrvis is going to be just fine at Maryland.

TT: And last question Coach. Do you see Maryland a lot in your area, and can they be effective recruiting in Florida heading to the Big Ten?

SB: To be honest I really don't see a lot of Maryland around here. This year was the first time I've really seen them. We get a lot of Rutgers, Buffalo, Pitt … this was the first time Maryland has been around. And it's good that they are getting down here now, because Maryland has a lot to sell. They've got good facilities they're building, they have great academics and it's a good school.

The thing with Florida is there are a lot of players to be had and so much talent, and not everyone can go to Florida or Florida State or Miami. Those schools, they're so high profile, they recruit all over the country and then take the top players [from Florida]. So some kids around here that can't go to Florida or FSU because they're not quite at that level, well, they can go to a Big Ten school or an ACC school and have a lot of success.

Like Jahrvis, he was just a hair short for what a Florida wants in a receiver. He had every other measurable, but just wasn't quite tall enough. So now a school like Maryland gets an opportunity with him, and they're getting a heck of a player.

So if Maryland comes to look at the players here in Tampa and the Bay area, they're going to see a lot of great, talented players. And, like I said, they have a lot to sell and they should definitely be able to recruit well here.

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