OAKLAND, Calif. -- It was fitting on Day One of practice at Laney College in Oakland for the Maryland defense to be practicing against physical Stanford's jumbo packages, and junior safety Sean Davis right there in the mix.
The 6-1, 200-pound hard-hitting safety was doing his thing as usual, physical in run support, chasing down ballcarriers from the backside, as well as breaking up passes downfield with his physical style.
And among the key news items this week at Terps camp as they prepare for the Cardinal in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 30 was Davis' future, in more than one way.
For starters, Davis moonlighted a few games at the end of the season at corner for the Terps after J.J. Johnson was hurt, and more often than not shined. So Will Davis be a corner or safety next season as a senior at College Park? That has been bandied about all week, while on another note, the Terps sighed a bit of collective relief when Davis, who submitted his paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Board just before Christmas, got his feedback last week and announced at the Dec. 26 practice his intentions to return to Maryland for his final season.
Some tout boards had him rated early this season as the third-best underclassman safety if he did opt to come out. But Davis, while second on the team in tackles with 108 and tied for first with eight pass-breakups, still knows he has some work to do in coverage and with technique. A big-time hitter and athlete on the backline as well as on special teams, Davis is still refining his cover skills,and another year at Maryland could put him over the top.
"We talked, I went into the metting with Coach Edsall saying that I wanted to see where I was at," Davis said of his pro stock. "But I did tell him that the plan was to come back my senior year, graduate, and play with my little brother. So I got my feedback and like I said I will be coming back to play my senior year here."
Davis would not reveal the specific grade, and he said he got it back just a few days later.
"It was definitely encouraging, the whole process to me was encouraging," Davis said. "I went in with the mindset to go in and hear what they said, I got the information back, and now I know what I have to work on for next year."
Davis said he will only play safety in the bowl game, with more discussions to come in the off-season about his position for 2015.
"Right now we don't know. It's a possibility we're talking about right now, so I am not sure what we are going to do," Davis said of the two spots. "If it's safety I will do that, if it's corner I will do that. Whatever is best for the team is what we will decide."
Davis said the key this week is limiting Stanford's big plays, led by Washington, D.C., native quarterback Kevin Hogan, the signal-caller out of Gonzaga who played just across town from Davis' Maret School, also in D.C..
"He's from the DMV, a tough dude, and they are very physical," Davis said. "They want to run the ball, run you over, and they're not going to try and shake you. Hogan, he's one of their best players, and can't let their best players make plays. They are a hard nosed team, try to run the ball, and we know what we have to do. We are ready for the challenge."
Otherwise, it's been good so far in San Francisco for Davis, whose little brother Isaiah, an outside linebacker, is committed to Maryland for next year and is expected to sign in February. The younger Davis has a wrestling match this week so cannot attend the bowl game, but his father will be in attendance later this week. Of the trip out, Davis said:
"We got in a little late, we had some delays, the weather, some weight issues," Davis said on Day One. "We stopped in Utah, I think we were on the plane for nine hours, but we got in [to San Francisco] and it's was good to see the guys that were already there. Christmas was good, it didn't really feel like a Christmas, but it was good to get in and settled down and get used to the time difference."
On Dec. 27 the Terps have their second practice, followed by a presser in the city and then a tour of Alcatraz Island along with Stanford players. With his one big decision behind him, Davis wants to enjoy San Francisco some, too, now.
"Alcatraz, that will be a highlight today, while I just want to get out and see the city, the scenery," Davis said. "Just walking around, having fun. We are about business on the field, but I am also looking forward to the change of scenery and enjoying the weather."
Davis Announces His 2015 Intentions
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