Phoebus High's Dominik "Baby D." Davenport, a 6-1, 265-pounder out of Hampton, Va. verballed to West Virginia today after the Mountaineers made a huge impact on the defensive lineman. Davenport, a teammate of fellow commit and Phoebus quarterback Tahj Boyd, said his decision had more to do with WVU itself than any sway from his teammate.
"Tahj didn't say much," Davenport said. "He kind of knew what I was going to say when I got there. He kept saying ‘Wait until you get there, wait until you get there.' He didn't try to persuade me."
Boyd didn't have to. The combination of West Virginia's recent emergence onto the national scene, its 18,000-plus crowd for the spring game and its overall approach in terms of coaching and facilities sold Davenport, who also had offers from Florida State, Maryland and Virginia, among others. Davenport becomes the first defensive lineman in the 2009 class, a position at which assistant coach Bill Kirelawich assured him he could stay when all other schools wanted to slide the player to linebacker. Boyd says Davenport "is finished. He won't take any more visits.
"I tell you, he is kinda like an animal," Boyd said. "He is real aggressive, and I have never seen him shy away from anything. He is always around the ball and has good football sense. He has that good motor. He kept on joking that he might like another school, and I told him he wouldn't want to play us. We were walking around looking at everything and getting some West Virginia gear and we met some people. And the people there are just great. I love the people. We went through the student union up there, with the bowling alley and laser tag and all that stuff. It was great."
Davenport, an All-State selection who was initially recruited by running backs/slot receivers coach Chris Beatty, should have no trouble qualifying. He plans to major in sports medicine or physical education. Beatty has now helped land four of West Virginia's six commits from his coverage areas of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., getting Boyd, Davenport, Chesapeake's Logan Heastie (Scout.com five-star receiver) and D.C.'s Deon Long (wideout, unrated of yet).
"That's the best school I have seen," Davenport said of West Virginia. "The fans are awesome, the school is awesome, the coaches are awesome. It felt like home, the blue and gold. I liked the people and everybody seemed like they knew who we were. There was a lot of love."
Davenport said Kirelawich was exactly what he was looking for in a coach because of his similarity to Phoebus High's Bill Dee. Davenport, who made 124 tackles last season as a junior, has been coached by Dee for the last five seasons, moving with the coach through junior high and high school.
"That's what I am used to," Davenport said. "I'm a defensive lineman at heart. I just want to thank everybody in West Virginia for the courtesy while I was up there. I really don't get into that star rating stuff, but as far as that goes, we are really building. We have a chance to be really good and keep going and maybe get a national championship. So I'll see you in Morgantown."