2011 Unwrapped: Oklahoma LB Daniel Davis

Fans who've watched 2009 Stanford football know full well that Stanford could certainly benefit from signing some talented linebackers. One promising junior prospect, Daniel Davis, is notable not only for playing a position of need, his obvious love for Stanford and his academic prowess, but also for his recruiting profile's striking similarity to that of another current Cardinal...

You may be a pretty big Stanford football fan, but Class of 2011 Oklahoma linebacker Daniel Davis probably isn't on your radar yet. However, Davis, who reports he's a "pretty big fan right now" himself, is most certainly prominent on the radar which matters the most – that of Stanford's coaching staff.

"I talk to Coach Harbaugh, Coach Buh and Coach White every Sunday night at 10 p.m.," Davis told The Bootleg in an exclusive interview last week. "We usually talk for 30 minutes. I was kind of impressed -- they're telling me I'm only one doing that. It's weird: I see Coach Harbaugh on TV and then I have him in my phonebook. But I call him every Sunday night and he's down to earth."

The Cardinal's courtship of the 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker isn't solely a long-distance effort either.

"I'm coming out for the Oregon game," Davis said. "It will be my second time to Stanford."

During his visit, Stanford's energies will surely be focused on winning their biggest game thus far this season. For his part, though, Davis can only hope the visit goes as well as his first trip to the Farm.

"My first visit was when I went to their camp this summer," he said. "I got an invite in the mail and really wasn't sure. I didn't think about going, but my parents thought it'd be a really good idea, so they called Coach White, who recruits in Oklahoma, and asked if they'd seen my video. He said no, but he'd watch it and get back to me. So my Dad called and [White] said he really liked it and it would be worth our time to come out.

"So we went to Stanford camp. We did this 10-yard sprint to get the linebacker depth chart for the whole camp. I won my heat and got on the first team for linebackers out of 60 kids there, and they talked about offering me after the first day. It was kind of weird: in a week I went from them not knowing my name to offering me. That offer happened the last day of camp. I was surprised. My Dad said it was the best investment he ever made. It's kind of expensive to fly all the way out and stay there: $2,000 or so. I think a full-ride scholarship was definitely a good return."

While the Card are Davis' only offer thus far, the junior reports no shortage of interest from other colleges. He says he's received letters from 30 schools and maintains contact with other coaches, notably Notre Dame's staff and Brent Venables, Oklahoma's defensive coordinator. One reason for Stanford standing alone in the offer column, however, is Davis' high school position.

"I play defensive end at my school because we don't have the personnel for anyone else to play DE," he said. "So I went to Stanford's camp as a linebacker, because I thought I might project better there. They were the first ones to see me play that position, and they said I looked pretty natural. So I think that's probably why I haven't gotten as much interest from other schools. They haven't seen me at linebacker."

So while thrilled by his Stanford offer, Davis, like any college prospect, would like to receive more offers yet. Exactly where he'd like those offers to come from is more of an open question.

"It's still pretty early," he said. "I haven't seen all the campuses and their facilities. I haven't even talked to a lot of coaches, so I don't even know. But Oklahoma for sure. That's about it."

Davis moved to the Sooner State from Colorado four years ago, and lived in Dallas and Wisconsin before that. His father is currently the president of the Oklahoma division of Sysco food services, and that career has taken Davis around the country. Still, Daniel Davis does have love for the Sooners, mere miles from his Norman home.

"I grew up an OU fan, but I know there's a big difference between being a fan and a player at OU," he said. "I'll take the fan aspect out of it if they do offer me."

A childhood in which Davis "has been moving around a lot" figures to strengthen Stanford's position in this recruitment in two ways. First, Davis isn't as tied to staying in the region as a lifelong Oklahoman might be, and second, Davis acutely realizes the importance of location when selecting a college.

"I think just from moving around so much, I'm more attuned to knowing how important it is to be comfortable with where you live and liking where you live," he said. "I was really happy living in Colorado. I'm happy in Oklahoma, but it would be neat to live in California. Stanford's far away, but I think it takes the same time to get to Stanford as it would to get to Kansas State, just because of the distance between the universities and airports. So that's good.

"It would just be more expensive to fly out there, but my parents are pretty comfortable with Stanford's location, my dad more so than my mom, but she hasn't been out there yet. My dad has been to San Francisco and a lot of the Bay Area, but never Stanford, and when he went out, he was just as impressed as I was. I think mom will probably be the same way."

Like a parent loves all his children equally, The Bootleg has admiration for all Stanford players and recruits, but this author does admit a special affinity for Davis, who comes across as much of a "Stanford kid" as any recruit. His passion for the game meshes nicely with the enthusiastic image with which Coach Harbaugh is attempting to rebrand Stanford football, but it is his academic prowess and interests which most differentiate Davis from other recruits.

"I have a 4.0, unweighted," he said. "School in Oklahoma isn't the toughest thing. I have a 29 on my ACT and am taking three AP classes and some college courses this year. I'm taking AP Calc AB, because there's not enough room for BC, and AP Stats next semester, I think. [Ed: BC Calc is a slightly more advanced version of calculus than AB Calc, as the letters imply.] I took AP US History last year. It was fun, though our book was kind of weird. But I passed the exam and got credit.

"A lot of AP classes take up two semesters, or one more semester than the regular class, like Government. So it's hard to take certain classes AP because they take up so much more time. Being a junior, I have to take four core classes. Then with lunch and two hours of football, I only have one hour for an elective, which I use for student council."

On student council, Davis is responsible for communicating with the school newspaper and, along with another student, is responsible for brainstorming ideas to make Norman North High School better. Davis obviously enjoys academic success in a variety of fields, which he attributes in large part to having attended private school through seventh grade, and the study skills he was forced to hone there.

Given the interest Davis has generated from the University of Oklahoma, that he lives in Oklahoma and that his passion for learning is extreme, even by Stanford recruits' standards, his similarities to current starting center Chase Beeler are myriad. Davis had a chance to see these parallels for himself when he listened to Chase Beeler talk on the player panel at Junior Day.

"My dad asked [Beeler] some questions about the differences between Oklahoma and Stanford, and he talked about how different it was in terms of workouts," Davis said. "They move your workouts in relation to school at Stanford, and at OU, they move your school in relation to workouts, though I don't know if it's like that anymore."

Davis, who has also talked with 2011 commits Amir Carlisle and Ty Montgomery, reports being floored by the player panel.

"Condoleezza Rice was there," he said. "Andrew Luck talked. David DeCastro. Chris Owusu. I always read their names when I'm reading articles. It's just cool to see them right there and how much they like Stanford, and then read about them on ESPN."

The Bootleg suspects that this will not be the last Stanford fans hear from Daniel Davis, so stay tuned for all the rest in the months to come.

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