Georgia safety well respected

Wisconsin receivers coach calls All-American Davis the best safety he has ever seen

Thomas Davis, Georgia's consensus All-American free safety, will likely introduce himself to many Badgers New Year's Day. He has already made quite an impression on the University of Wisconsin's receivers coach, well before the respective teams will take the field for their Outback Bowl matchup.

"He's the best safety I've ever seen in college. Period," Henry Mason said. "I've seen some pretty good safeties."

Mason is in his 15th season as a college coach, his 10th as the Badgers' receivers coach. He has seen many high-caliber safeties set their sights on his players. But before even seeing Davis play in person, Georgia's 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior draws rave reviews.

"From the film that I've seen—I guess I should probably wait till I see him up close and personal—but he's really good. He's a good player," Mason said. "Really a guy who can run and knows how to fill the alleys."

What jumps out on film? Davis runs like a corner, is built like a linebacker and hits like a freight train—arguably the fiercest tackler in college football.

"It's amazing to see him make the open-field tackle the way he does . . . where he'll get right down the middle of the cylinder, right down the middle of the guy, wrap up and run his feet and bury him," Georgia coach Mark Richt told the Atlanta Journal Constitution earlier this year. "That's hard enough to do at a linebacker position, where the back's got nowhere to go. It's amazing to see him do it."

Davis has awed opponents and teammates alike—at times making a literal impression on receivers, running backs and quarterbacks with his crushing blows. Davis leads the Bulldogs with 73 tackles, despite missing one game with right knee and right ankle injuries. He led Georgia with 138 tackles in four more games a year ago.

"I've never seen a guy to be able to cover the way he can and play the run game the way he does," Mason said. "And the kid weighs 230 pounds. That's a linebacker's body and he's playing safety."

Mason and Wisconsin will get their first chance to see Davis in action Jan. 1, but it could be the last time anyone sees him in Georgia uniform. Davis, a fourth-year junior, will decide sometime after the bowl game whether to return for his senior year or head to the NFL. He would likely be a first-round pick.

"We are going to have to account for him, all the time," Mason said. "We're going to have to know where he is."

Badger Nation Top Stories