One of the more interesting prospective student-athletes to sign with the Oregon Ducks Football team in the 2017 recruiting cycle is Daewood Davis. A tall lanky wide out that possesses a rare combination of size and speed. Davis who hails from Deerfield Beach, Florida was offered by over twenty Division I programs.
In fact Davis committed to four different programs prior to the Ducks which is why his recruiting story is so interesting. Daewood apparently accepted an offer from the University of Miami that was subsequently “tabled.” Miami apparently did not accept his commitment, but explained in the media that they still might at a “later date.” However Davis didn’t sit still. He visited and committed to Syracuse two weeks later. And then 10 months, a coaching change and a change of heart later landed him at Florida Atlantic University. But the journey didn’t end there as he committed to the University of South Florida in July of 2016. And finally he brought his recruiting saga to a conclusion in late January 2017 with a final pledge to the Oregon Ducks.
Daewood Davis’ triangle numbers (height, weight, and speed) are excellent and bordering on elite. He is built like the prototypical wide out in todays football. He’s tall with long arms and legs, a slim build and he’s a bit of a long strider.
I have not found any official clocks on him, and the [multiple] reported 4.36 and 4.38 40-yard dash times all appear to originate from Davis. However he does pass the eye-ball test in that he appears to have a top end gear that he flashes after the catch in many of his film clips.
He has been reported from various media sources as 6’1 to 6’2. And his weight is right at 175 lbs. Based upon his age (18 years) and the reported heights of his parents, I’m guessing that he is about 95 percent of his eventual height and 85 percent of his maximum effective weight. Projecting ahead at full development, he will probably be about 6’4 to 6’5 and approximately 201 lbs. without impacting his athleticism. This is imposing size for a wide receiver.
I have not seen any reported hand size on Davis. Based upon his frame though, I would suspect that his hand size is 9-1/2″ or larger. The 9-1/2″ benchmark is considered the threshold of “large hands”, and very large hands are anything over 10.” Hand size for a receiver is important for obvious reasons.
There are two or three sub-4.40 wide receivers in every draft. However they tend to be 6’0 tall and shorter and fit the mold of slot guys rather than wide outs. To have a guy 6’2 -6’5 clocking under 4.4 is unusual. Again his times listed above are unverified, but his tape demonstrates a top-end gear that one doesn’t normally see.
High Pointing the Ball
The ability to catch the ball at its highest point is coveted, especially on the perimeter. Whether it’s a “jump ball” in the corner of the end zone or a lazy back shoulder throw on the sideline, the ability to climb the ladder against very athletic cornerbacks can’t be over emphasized.
Proper Receiving Technique
The ability to look the ball in with the correct thumb placement as the situation dictates defines receivers as opposed to “body catchers.” The thumbs should be in when the ball is coming right at you and out when the ball is going away from you. Davis checks both of these boxes. He also demonstrates a nice feel for a “soft spot” in the zone in the video above.
Team Guy – Willing to do the “Dirty Work” inside
It’s interesting that a guy with his triangle numbers played primarily in the slot and a lot of his film consisted of short routes (digs, quick outs, etc.). These types of routes invite a lot of contact and seem counter-intuitive to the type of receiver you might have in mind when you think of Daewood Davis. Credit Davis for moving the chains and doing the “dirty work” for his more heralded teammates Leroy Henley (East Carolina) and Jerry Jeudy (Alabama).
One of the toughest routes for a wide out to run is the seam or “skinny post” right up the middle and to the outside of the safety. It’s designed to be a quick hit play after the quarterback has “looked off” the safety in that zone. The timing of it is critical. When it doesn’t go right, the safety can get a big hit on the receiver in an effort to jar the ball loose or even intercept it. In the video above, watch the concentration Davis shows as he ignores the safety bearing down on him to make the catch. Fearless execution is required at the D1 level and beyond.
Throughout his film clips Davis demonstrates the ability to take multiple hits before being stopped. The capacity to absorb hits and break arm tackles from a guy with his build is eye-opening. When he puts on another twenty pounds of good weight, he will be very tough to bring down one-on-one. This is a tough guy.
Home Run Hitter
Guys with elite speed (under 4.40 in the 40-yard dash) stress a defense. Whether he is matched up one-on-one with a cornerback or passed off to a safety in a zone scheme “burners” create matchup problems for any defense. Davis is one of them. He has the ability to take the top off of a defense and score from anywhere on the field.
Daewood Davis has elite triangle numbers right now. And with the distinct possibility that he is not done growing, it makes him all the more intriguing. As stated before if he in fact can clock under 4.40 he is in rarified air as a prospect. The Great Blue North Draft Report Pro Draft blog lists the 2017 and the 2016 wide receiver players eligible for the NFL Draft. As a comparison, based on triangle numbers alone Davis would have been a high pick in either of these drafts.
Davis is a real talent. I’m not sure that Oregon has ever had a wide out with his size, speed, and skill set. There certainly isn’t anyone currently on the roster that does. It will be interesting to see how he develops.
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