Anthony Davis Ready For A Leadership Role

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers Football star freshman Anthony Davis may have fallen under the spotlight last season, competing alongside three All-American caliber offensive linemen. Davis' "older statesmen" have since graduated, leaving him to fend for his own.

In fact, Davis' responsibility becomes that much more difficult in the 2008 campaign, as the Scarlet Knights coaching staff shifts him from guard to tackle. Head coaches assign the left tackle to protect the quarterback's blind side. Davis attributes Kyle Flood, his offensive line coach, for helping him make a smooth transition.

"I have one of the best offensive line coaches in the country," Davis said after a recent Scarlet Knight practice. "He's going to help me become the best at my position."

Davis wasted little time in his first year on the D-I football program, which won its second consecutive bowl game in its third straight appearance.

The true sophomore earned First Team Freshman All-American honors by the Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and Rivals.com and Second Team All-American laurels from Scout.com. "Even if they named me first team All-American, I would still try to get better every day, no matter what they say I am," Davis said.

Davis felt a brotherly connection with tackles Jeremy Zuttah and Pedro Sosa and left guard Mike Fladell during his rookie year On the Banks.

"They teach you about work ethic," Davis said. "With Fladell, he studies film a lot. With Zuttah, he tries to do everything right. On the field, it felt like they were my big brothers."

Quarterback and fifth-year senior Mike Teel echoed Davis' thoughts about the Big Three, who have all entered the upcoming 2008 NFL Draft.

"Obviously, we lost three all-Big East caliber offensive linemen that are going to play in the NFL for a long time," Teel said. "It's why high school football players are recruited and have the opportunity to come to a school like this. When you graduate good players, the next wave moves in."

Davis and junior Ryan Blaszczyk lead a younger and inexperienced crew into the 2008 season.

"We have a few new pieces in there, but with everyone willing to get better, it'll all come together," Davis said.

What drives Davis to block for whoever is throwing or running the ball on offense?

"Because I'm a Davis," he said. "Everyone in my family, the work ethic is instilled in us."

Davis understands it takes a group effort to prevent the defense from sacking Teel, something the Rutgers o-line has been very successful at stopping the past two seasons. They only allowed 11 sacks in ‘07 after allowing just 8 in '06.

"Everybody holds each other accountable," Davis said. "You do it as a group."

"We're becoming a good offensive line slowly."


Anthony Davis:

Today was good. During the week, there were some things I needed to tweak. We're becoming a good offensive line slowly. I love playing left tackle, it's my position. I have one of the best offensive line coaches in the country. He's going to help me become the best at my position. It's all coming together. We have a few new pieces in there, but with everyone willing to get better, it'll all come together. Everybody holds each other accountable. It doesn't matter what grade you're in. If Art Forst sees something wrong, he says something.

You do it as a group. They (Big Three) teach you about work ethic. With Fladell, he studies film a lot. With Zuttah, he tries to do everything right. On the field, it felt like they were my big brothers.

What drives you? Because I'm a Davis. Everyone in my family, the work ethic is instilled in us. I don't know.

Even if they named me first team All-American, I would still try to get better every day, no matter what they say I am. ‘Till the day I'm done playing football, I'm still going to get better.


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