Many in the Tampa Bay area are familiar with Claude Davis, the former Lake Gibson stand-out and one time USF commit that had to go the JUCO route. Davis, originally went to Pearl River, but had a few issues and transferred to East Mississippi Community College the past year.
"When I first got here I was a bit sluggish, so I worked hard over the summer to get back to my old self. My first game I was a bit tentative, but after I made my first tackle, I knew I was back."
Davis, 6'4.5-246 pounds, had a superb freshman season, posting an amazing 80 tackles, 44 solo, 15 tackles for a loss, 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumbles recovered, and two interceptions, with one returned 18 yards for a score.
"I worked hard this year, and scoring the touchdown was great, I had to dive in from the five, and it was fun."
Davis's outstanding season helped lead the Lions to a 8-1 record and hosted a state football playoff game for the first time in school history against Pearl River where they lost 42-35.
"It was a good game, I stood up a lot like a rover" said Davis. "They doubled me all game. I don't know my stats yet but I know I had a bunch of tackles and a sack. I had a lot of family come up, and it was a lot of fun."
Now the season is done Davis said he will focus on working out, running and getting ready for the spring, but said schools have take notice of his performance.
"My coach told me that several schools have been calling, Clemson, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, FIU, Alabama, Memphis, and UAB have all called," said Davis. But I'm not really interested. I want to go back to South Florida."
The standout defensive end was a high school teammate of Bulls quarterback Matt Grothe, and is in regular contact with the USF staff, mainly with Coach Hendricks.
"I feel like I'm a missing piece to that puzzle," said Davis. "I can't wait to get back and say I'm finally here."
Davis is also teammates with another former USF commit defensive tackle Leslie Stirrups. Both were both at Pearl River last year, before transferring to EMCC under first-year coach Buddy Stephens, formerly Pearl River's offensive coordinator.
"That's my boy. We were both at Pearl River together. We're both on the same side of the line, he's one heck of a football player, and he had a good season too."
EMCC has joined Pearl River as a program where USF football signees who didn't initially qualify could work hard, earn an AA degree and potentially return to USF, and Davis is eager to be reunited.
Davis keeps track of the Bulls on a regular basis and watches the team whenever he can.
"There still my team. I talk to people all the time about the Bulls, and can't wait to get back to Tampa."
The standout defensive end would like to try and be finished in May of next year, but most likely will have to wait until next December to be part of the Bulls
Stay tuned with USFNation.com, as we keep you updated on Claude, and be sure to check back for an update on Claude's teammate Leslie Stirrups