Having proven his athleticism as a strong-side linebacker, Demario Davis utilized his impressive strength and quickness to emerge as one of college football's premier weak-side linebackers during his senior campaign. A confident, aggressive tackler, his quick reactionary skills proved to be a huge problem for opposing offenses attempting to pass in the short area, as the Red Wolves defender allowed less than 20 percent of passes targeted into his area to be completed last season.
Davis runs with a quick stride, showing good flexibility and knee bend in his pass drops. He has the lateral quickness and range to make plays on the move and does a good job of flipping his hips to turn and come out of his breaks cleanly. He closes on the ball with good urgency, showing decent field awareness to make checks and adjustments. He also accelerates quickly to the run alleys, as he is equally effective playing on the edge, where he can use his quickness to zero in on the ball, and using his power to shed blocks when playing vs. the inside run.
Playing more in run containment as a junior, Davis recorded just 3.5 tackles for losses, but after shifting to the weak-side and allowed to impact the backfield more, he registered a career-high 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage in 2011. With his burst off the snap, good hand usage to combat blocks and a good feel for taking proper angles, few offensive linemen have the feet or retreat agility to mirror his moves once he gets past the line of scrimmage, evident by his 2011 performances vs. North Texas and Northern Illinois.
Davis has developed a good feel for keeping plays in front of him. When taking on tight ends and backs, he easily mirrors the opponent's moves in the short area and refuses to allow any underneath cushion. He is active using his hands to reroute the receiver in man coverage. He has great elevation skills (38 ½-inch vertical jump) and timing going for the ball at its high point.
In run force, Davis does a nice job shuffling his feet working down the line and it is rare to see him take false steps when moving to the ball. He springs into his tackles and is active getting to the edge to chase down the ball carrier and has the plant-and-drive agility to close down the cutback lanes.
Davis lettered three times in football at Brandon High School, as he played mostly on offense as a receiver during his first two campaigns. He moved to strong-side linebacker as a senior, recording 81 tackles with six interceptions to help lead the Bulldogs to their 14th playoff appearance in the last 16 years in 2006.
Davis received a two-star prospect rating from Scout.com and Rivals.com, as Scout regarded him as the 86th-best linebacker in the nation. He added 2006 All-Region 3-5A and All-State first-team honors from the Mississippi Association of Coaches. In addition to his exploits on the gridiron, he started for the Brandon High basketball team and competed in the high jump with the varsity track and field squad.
After redshirting as a freshman in 2007, he played in 11 games behind Darius Glover as a 217-pound strong-side outside linebacker in 2008. During the offseason, Davis added 15 pounds to his frame, wresting away the strong-side linebacker position in 2009 and starting all 12 games. He led the team with a career-high 80 tackles (51 solos) that included eight stops behind the line of scrimmage, bolting from traffic to return an interception 75 yards for a touchdown vs. Iowa. He earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors and was named to the ASU Athletic Director's and league's Honor Roll.
Even though offensive coordinators were wise not to challenge Davis often in 2010, he managed to get his steady diet of big plays, setting up three touchdown drives from his two interceptions and pair of forced fumbles. The All-Sun Belt Conference first-team pick registered 63 tackles and also enjoyed brief action on offense, catching two passes for 16 yards.
As a senior, Davis earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors for the third consecutive year. He extended his consecutive starts string to 37 games, taking over weak-side linebacker duties. He finished second on the squad with 70 tackles, adding three sacks, 10 stops for losses, an interception and four pass deflections.
After his final season, Davis received the ultimate honor – an invitation to play in the 2012 Senior Bowl. He became just the seventh Arkansas State player to perform in the game, joining defensive end Alex Carrington (2010), quarterback Gene Bradley?(1980), offensive linemen T.J. Humphreys (1977), Ken Jones (1976) and Wayne Dorton (1971) and linebacker Bill Bergey (1968). All six previous ASU players in the all-star game were drafted by NFL teams, including Bradley, Jones and Bergey in the second round.
PATH TO THE DRAFT SERIES
Baylor C Philip Blake
Wisconsin C Peter Konz
Michigan C David Malk
Georgia C Ben Jones
Ohio State C Michael Brewster
Mississippi State C Quentin Saulsberry
San Diego St. QB Ryan Lindley
South Dakota St. WR Dale Moss
Southern Mississippi QB Austin Davis
Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Davis earned All-American Super Sleeper Team honors from The NFL Draft Report, as the All-Sun Belt Conference first-team selection was regarded as the best pro prospect in the league by that scouting information service…Shifted to weak-side outside linebacker, starting all thirteen games…Became much more active in run force at his new position, registering a career-high ten stops behind the line of scrimmage for losses totaling 40 yards…Ranked second on the team with 70 tackles (31 solos) that included three sacks for minus 28 yards and a trio of quarterback pressures, helping the Red Wolves rank second in the league in rush defense (103.54 ypg; 13th in the nation), total defense (331.46 ypg; ranked 24th nationally) and scoring defense (25th in the major college ranks; 20.77 ppg)…Recovered one fumble, deflected four passes and intercepted another.
2011 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
Davis posted six tackles with 1.5 stops for loss vs. Memphis and deflected two passes while coming up with six more hits vs. Central Arkansas…Followed with six more tackles and a stop for loss vs. Western Kentucky and totaled eight tackles (4 solos) with a 9-yard sack and pressure in a 24-19 decision over Louisiana-Monroe…Produced a career-high twelve tackles that included a 9-yard sack and a trio of stops behind the line of scrimmage in a 37-14 defeat of North Texas…Made two more stops for loss among his five hits vs. Florida Atlantic…Returned an interception 27 yards while also coming up with seven tackles and a pair of pressures vs. Louisiana-Lafayette…Closed out his career with a 10-yard sack, two stops for loss and five tackles vs. Northern Illinois in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
The All-Sun Belt Conference first-team choice added ASU Athletic Director's Honor Roll and Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll recognition, in addition to being named the league's Defensive Player of the Week vs. Middle Tennessee…Started all twelve games at strong-side outside linebacker, as Davis registered 63 tackles (37 solos), a 7-yard sack and 3.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage…Recovered a fumble and caused two others, as he also deflected one pass and intercepted two others for 10 yards in returns…Saw brief action as a receiver, catching a pair of tosses for 16 yards…Davis recorded seven tackles and a career-high two interceptions, which both set up touchdowns, during the Red Wolves' 51-24 victory over Middle Tennessee in front of a national television audience. Davis joined teammates M.D. Jennings and Adrian Hills as the only three players in the Sun Belt Conference to record multiple interceptions in a game this season. He picked off QB Dwight Dasher on the game's opening possession, setting up ASU's first scoring drive from Middle Tennessee's 21-yard line. With ASU leading just 23-17, Davis posted his second interception on the Blue Raiders' first drive of the second half. Davis picked off Dasher at Middle Tennessee's 33-yard line, which again set up an ASU touchdown and gave the Red Wolves a two-possession lead…Caught two passes for 16 yards vs. Louisiana-Monroe and made six hits (4 solos) vs. Troy…Followed with seven tackles, causing a fumble behind the line of scrimmage vs. North Texas…Made six tackles (4 solos) with a 7-yard sack vs. Indiana…Posted nine tackles with 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage vs. Western Kentucky…Closed out the season with six hits and a forced fumble vs. Florida International.
Davis earned All-Sun Belt Conference first-team honors from Phil Steele…Was a member of the ASU Athletic Director's Honor Roll and Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll…The sophomore took over strong-side outside linebacker duties, leading the team with a career-high 80 tackles (51 solos)…Credited with three sacks for minus 27 yards and eight stops for losses of 37 yards…Caused three fumbles and deflected a pass…His 75-yard interception return for a touchdown vs. Iowa, as he also made five tackles vs. the Hawk-eyes…Named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week vs. Florida International, as he came up with two sacks for minus 18 yards, a forced fumble and eight tackles (4 solos). Davis was in the backfield for much of the night, helping the ASU defense limit the Golden Panthers to a season-low 10 points and 223 yards of offense that was their second lowest total of the season. His eight stops tied the team high, marking the third time this season he has either led or tied for the team high in tackles.
Davis appeared in eleven games as a reserve strong-side linebacker, managing seventeen tackles (10 solos) with a stop for a 4-yard loss and a pass deflection…Recovered a fumble that he returned 53 yards for a touchdown vs. Texas Southern.
David did not play in any games, taking a reds-shirt season and participating on the scout team.
No major injuries reported. AGILITY TESTS
4.49 in the 40-yard dash…1.54 10-yard dash…2.54 20-yard dash…4.28 20-yard shuttle… 11.65 60-yard shuttle…7.19 three-cone drill…38 ½-inch vertical jump…10'4" broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 32 times…32-inch arm length…9-inch hands…77 ¼-inch wing-span…19 Wonderlic score.
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Dave-Te Thomas has more than 40 years of experience scouting for the NFL. At NFL Scouting, Thomas handles a staff that evaluates and tests college players before the draft and prepares the NFL's official Draft Packet, which is distributed to all 32 teams prior to the draft.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.