SI All-American Candidate Derrick Davis Jr. Highlights and Evaluation
Prospect: Derrick Davis Jr.
Status: SI All-American Candidate
Vitals: 6-foot-1, 195 pounds
Position: Safety and Running Back
School: Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway
Schools of Interest: Ohio State, Clemson, Penn State, Notre Dame, USC, Michigan State and Miami, among others.
Projected Position: Safety, and potentially as a linebacker on certain big nickel and dime packages.
Frame: Athletic frame with excellent body definition and composition. Big shoulders and good-looking calves, with a fair amount of room to add even more mass.
Athleticism: Smooth movement skills and athletic ability when on the move. Very good quickness to close and finish when driving on underneath routes, validated by 4.14 shuttle time at The Opening Regionals 2019. Displays a subtle burst that allows him to climb to top speed naturally with good open field stride. Speed and closing quickness compensate for adequate transition footwork at this point. Solid leap timing (35-inch vertical jump) and ball skills.
Instincts: Displays alertness and awareness for crossers and drags underneath from safety position. Good peripheral vision of receivers when working as single-high defender and speed allows him to play with range to reach outside of numbers. Tough when asked to play on edges of box and stack tight ends to set the edge and maintain outside leverage. Doesn’t allow himself to get lost in traffic/trash and chases ball-carriers well in pursuit; will strike with good force as a tackler.
Polish: Has the size, speed and play strength to contribute fairly early in his college career. Will need to improve transition quickness and footwork out of his break/pedal, which will allow him to get off hashes with more urgency. Not asked to perform much man coverage.
Bottom Line: Davis has the traits to develop into a very good starting college back-end defender. He has enough instincts and ball skills to go along with play speed, range and toughness in the box to play both free safety and strong safety, while also having the size to potentially even contribute as a linebacker on sub-packages. As he continues developing his man coverage skills and consistent tackling technique, Davis has a chance to become a core contributor to a collegiate defense.