Even with Michigan high school rules preventing players from wearing pads until August, few things have gotten in the way of lineman Garret Davis from opening eyes on the camp circuit.
Having already made stops at Indiana, Eastern Michigan, Illinois for the Nike Camp and Wayne State for the Sound Mind and Body Camp, Davis (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) has gone up against some of the best players in the Midwest and dominated, pads or no pads.
At Wayne State, Davis dominated four-star prospect William Gholston, one of the most athletic prospects in the country (ranked 11th at his position by Scout) that was a one-time Wisconsin recruit and current Michigan State commit. Throw in his performance at the exclusive Scout.com Combine and Davis got camp offers left and right, including one from the Badgers.
"After the Scout Combine, the coaching staff must have seen something on Scout because my coach called me out of class and told me about Wisconsin and that they wanted to see some tape," Davis told Badger Nation. "My dad emailed him and called him and Coach Alexander said they wanted me to come out to camp. They wanted to try out at defensive tackle because they need some this year."
After camping at Iowa earlier in the week, Davis headed to Wisconsin for a one-day camp on Monday. It was there that Davis continued his impressive streak of not being beat during a one-on-one competition during the trip.
"I am pretty sure Wisconsin was my best camp," Davis said. "I think one of the reasons why is because the other players had pads and I didn't. I had a little more to prove because I don't have an offer and they have pads. I just try to go hard and hopefully open some eyes to maybe earn an offer and come to Wisconsin, which has a great atmosphere."
Added Davis: "The defensive coach (Charlie Partridge) really liked my performance. After camp, he told me to come by, he shook his hand and he told me, ‘You know we can't offer on the field, but we'll talk to your recruiting coordinator.' They told me that they are going to have an evaluation meeting to discuss everybody, but said they liked what I saw."
A simple search of YouTube confirms that Davis has the solid footwork to make the jump to the next level. In addition to studying the moves of the opponent and thinking instinctively of what counter move he could make to benefit him getting to the ball, Davis was simply born with good footwork.
"I think I have good technique, ever since I was a freshman going on 13," Davis said. "A lot of upperclassmen struggled to push me around because I have good technique. For me, once I hit them the first time, I try a counter move that will benefit me."
Doing most of his film work, Al not only travels with his son from one recruiting stop to the next, but is Garret's name speaker with college coaches and a volunteer with his high school football team. Although he is the main go between, Al Davis is anything but ‘in-your-face,' as Al can most often be found behind the camera, taking a back seat.
"There's a lot of pressure on me and having him around takes a lot of it off," Davis said of his father. "I like to talk to the coaches but I don't like to brag. He can do that for me. He always can give people the full story. He keeps me in line with school and helps out with kids coming to camp who can't afford it. He's been a huge help to me."
Although it's be a grind for Davis, still waiting for his first offer to come in, the talented prospect shouldn't have to wait too much longer to fulfill his goals.
"I come from a small school and I want go somewhere big," Davis said. "If I do something big, it's going to bring attention to our school and hopefully make kids follow in my footsteps and go to a big school."