Malik Davis revealed a top seven schools list in mid-July in hopes of heading into the season with a better grasp of his recruitment. He has since hit the reset button.
“Honestly, it’s kind of like I’m starting over,” Davis said.
Kentucky, Illinois Indiana, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh made that initial cut for Davis, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound running back from Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit.
But since the list was unveiled, new schools have expressed interest in Davis. Meanwhile, some of his top seven have filled up and thus fallen off, while others have amped up their recruiting efforts.
“Louisville, that’s a big-time program, so I’m definitely looking at them, too now,” Davis said. “I’d say I’m looking at Miami, North Carolina, Louisville, Pitt still, Maryland, [and] Indiana. Virginia Tech I started looking at them. Oh yeah, I don’t want to leave out Illinois. All those schools are recruiting me hard.
“It’s going to be up to me to do my homework and seeing where I think I will fit best. I want to keep talking with the coaches and see where I’m at with them. And then, I’ll see what other schools might come along as the season goes.”
Additionally, Davis has begun to contemplate official trips.
“Miami and North Carolina are definitely going to get official visits,” Davis said.
Davis camped at UNC in June for his first – and so far only – visit to the school. He wants the focus of his official visit, which will take place after the season, to be on spending time with UNC's coaching staff.
“I want to see how the coaches feel about me and if they really want me there at their school,” Davis said.
Davis hears often from several UNC coaches (e.g. Larry Fedora, Larry Porter, etc.), but Chad Scott is the coach Davis communicates with the most.
“He just makes sure I know that they really want me,” Davis said.
Back when Davis camped at UNC, the Tar Heels possessed two running back commitments. One of those pledges, Adarius Lemons, has since flipped to Florida, but UNC continues to covet a three-RB class.
“Honestly, that doesn’t affect me at all, because at the end of the day anywhere you go you’ve got to work hard and show you’re capable of what they want you to do,” Davis said. “And if they thought you weren't, they wouldn’t offer you. It’s just the will within me.”
Following the 2016 season, UNC will lose at least two members of its running back depth chart. While the opportunity for early playing time is enticing, it won't impact Davis's decision.
“It opens up my eyes to see an opportunity there,” Davis said. “But, I don’t want that to be a factor, because I’m not scared of competition.
“If I feel I’m best there, I’ll chose that school. It’s just where I picture myself and where I think I’ll be most successful at.”
UNC isn't an outlier -- all of Davis's official visits will take place after the season.
“I don’t want anything to come between what my coaches and I are doing.” Davis said. “I want to be there for my teammates and not miss a beat.”
Davis, who rushed for 207 yards and four touchdowns in Jesuit's opener, is 993 yards from becoming Hillsborough County's all-time leading rusher. Clemson's Ray-Ray McCloud is the current record holder.
“[The record] would mean a lot, honestly,” Davis said. “Just knowing how hard my teammates and I worked, especially me and my offensive line. Not to sound cocky or anything, but it’s expected because of how hard we’ve worked and how much work we’ve put in during the offseason.”