DE Daniel Davis: NJ's Best Kept Secret?

Even as college programs start to narrow down their lists of prime recruiting targets, there are some prospects who could be ranked with the best of them, but are currently coming in under the radar for one reason or another. Plainfield (NJ) defensive end Daniel Davis is one who falls under that category.

Even as college programs start to narrow down their lists of prime recruiting targets, there are some prospects who could be ranked with the best of them, but are currently coming in under the radar for one reason or another. Plainfield (NJ) defensive end Daniel Davis is one who falls under that category.

The 6'3", 240-pound prospect is fast (4.6 in the 40), strong (benches 325, squats 550), agile (32-inch vertical) and has amazing defensive instincts. As a junior, he totaled 115 tackles (65 of which were solos), 25 QB hurries, four forced fumbles and three sacks, and through five games this year, he has 43 tackles (15 for solo), 13 QB hurries, 4 ½ sacks and three deflected passes. He recently had his best game in a 15-8 win over state powerhouse Elizabeth, in which he recorded 10 tackles and 2 ½ sacks.

"No one can block him," said Plainfield head coach Clint Jones. "He runs like the wind, he's got a chiseled body and he's one heck of a football player." So why is he not mentioned with the top defensive players in the nation?

For one, he plays on a team that features three future Division I offensive linemen in seniors Steve Council and Robert Crudup and junior Eugene Monroe. For another, he has yet to shore up his academic credentials. But his situation hasn't stopped major programs from recruiting him. In fact, if he ends up qualifying over the next couple of months, he may not be much of a secret anymore.

Virginia, Rutgers and Nebraska have already offered him scholarships and others, such as Georgia, UConn, Wisconsin, Maryland and Wake Forest, are also showing a great deal of interest. He and Monroe recently visited Virginia for the FSU game, and the Cavaliers may hold a slight lead for his services. Davis claims that NC State has not been in touch yet, but that could change over the next several weeks, seeing as how he represents the ideal DE/OLB package the Wolfpack coaches covet.

According to Jones, Davis gets to the quarterback faster than anyone he has known. He also says that Davis has dominated Council, Crudup and Monroe in practices, and added that he would take him over anyone on NC State's current defensive line – even freshman stud Mario Williams. "I'll put Daniel up against him any day," he said. "He's that good."

As to what position Davis would be playing at the next level, Jones claims that he projects as an outside linebacker because of his ability to turn the corner with Manny Lawson-type speed. But Daniel is confident he can play just about anywhere on the defensive side of the ball.

"Right now, I feel more comfortable at defensive end, because that's the position I've played throughout high school," he said. "But I've done linebacker drills at camp and in practice. So I can see myself making the move in college."

Davis added that he is an extremely coach-able player, and always takes constructive criticism rather well. But college recruiters that know him are more interested in how he can be used as a defensive weapon than anything else. The next Michael Strahan? Maybe. The next Derrick Brooks? Perhaps. Can he be stopped? Jones says he can't. And if you ask Daniel, he'll smile and nod. "If coach says so, it must be true."


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