Five-star Ben Davis eyes Irish visit

Autry Denson wasted no time getting to Alabama this week. Five-star linebacker Ben Davis enjoyed catching up with the Notre Dame assistant. Now Davis is zeroing in on an official visit date.

Ben Davis will head north for one of his final official visits.

Notre Dame will get the five-star linebacker from Gordo, Ala., on campus in mid-January. Irish running backs coach Autry Denson stopped by Gordo High School on Monday to sort out some of the details. Davis is looking at either the weekend of Jan. 15 or Jan. 22.

“(Denson) comes down here and he recruits this area,” Davis said. “He’s just a great guy all around. He’s a real strong believer in his faith, great person and from what I’m hearing he was a great player also. Hearing him talk and us maintaining this relationship that’s been going on for a year now, that’s why I really decided to go visit up there.”

Davis, an Alabama legacy, plans to give the Crimson Tide his final official visit in late January. His father is Wayne Davis, the all-time tackle leader in Alabama history.

Davis will also visit Auburn that month with trips to Georgia and LSU already complete. Davis plans to announce his commitment on National Signing Day.

Auburn had Davis back on campus as an unofficial visitor last weekend for the Iron Bowl.

Denson has helped muscle Notre Dame into the picture with a persistent approach. He hit on some of those items during the meeting with Davis on Monday at school.

“They just left the game from Stanford,” Davis said. “Him coming down here, I was just excited to meet back up with him and chat with him. It was really comforting for me. I’m gonna have a lot of playing time, he said. He said they need linebackers up there.”

A visit to South Bend would be a first look at Notre Dame for Davis. Getting a feel for the environment around town will be the first step in assessing his potential fit.

“It’s just how I feel on the campus,” Davis said. “What all they have to offer me as far as academics. I want to major in sports management, so that’s gonna be a big part of it also. And can they develop me as a player. I think wherever I go I can start with my athletic ability and have significant playing time.”

Davis has been keeping tabs on his other suitors even with their official visits complete.

LSU played host Nov. 14 for its loss to Arkansas. Davis then watched from afar as drama unfolded with head coach Les Miles, who eventually received the backing of administrators and will stick around in Baton Rouge.

“Coach Miles is back and he's a great coach,” Davis said. “Great guy. He really bonds with the players well. Overall, I think if I had to rate the trip it would be like a nine out of 10. I really had fun. Even though they lost the game I was down there, I had a great time.”

Mark Richt wasn’t so fortunate at Georgia, which chose to part ways in favor of someone new after 15 seasons. But that turn of events hasn’t changed much for Davis. 

“I hate that it happened,” Davis said. “I know coach Richt real well personally. He’s a great guy on the field and off the field. I hated it for him. But he's gonna do well wherever he goes. As far as my recruiting and my look at Georgia, it hasn’t changed at all. Georgia, they’re still one of my tops right now.”

Davis will soon weigh those trips against a trio of January visits, including return stops at in-state programs with which he’s very familiar. Alabama and Auburn won’t have to unveil much.

“I’ve really seen pretty much a lot anyway,” Davis said. “I just want to get more comfortable, see what I haven’t seen. It’s probably not that much but I want to get an even better look at it from the academic side of things.”


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