Update: Davis announced his commitment to Florida.
TAMPA – Pick a moment from Jesuit’s 2015 season and try to picture it without running back Malik Davis, you just can’t do it.
Davis shined whether it was his five-touchdown performances in back-to-back weeks against Robinson or Spoto, his 357-yard and three-touchdown game against Tampa Catholic or his record breaking performance in the region final last season.
Fast forward a few months and now a ton of Division-I programs have come calling for the rising senior’s services including the latest from Kentucky on Tuesday.
The 5’11”, 188-pounder accounted for 71 percent of Jesuit’s rushing offense and 58 percent of its rushing touchdowns in 2015, adding 100 or more rushing yards in all but one game. Davis broke a school record in rushing yards in a single season held by Mo Harris (1992) with 2,337 yards on 287 carries and 28 touchdown runs. He also had 11 grabs for 159 yards.
Purdue, Indiana and Western Michigan have also sent offers his way as of late. Davis has a total of 25 on the table with the most noteworthy being North Carolina, Miami, Syracuse, Purdue, Missouri, Iowa State, Virginia Tech, Maryland, West Virginia and Arizona on top of four mentioned previously.
He likes all of the offers but says that he was in shock when Miami and UNC offered. Davis calls Miami a school that always has great running backs especially now under head coach Mark Richt, a guy he talks to often. As for UNC, he likes it a lot because it reminds him of Jesuit in terms of in the classroom and on the field.
Davis is looking to head out on the college bus tour this summer visiting with eight different schools. He is still mulling over his offers and as more come in, as expected, he’ll have to start narrowing them down soon.
With the NFL Draft just recently taking place, I made sure to ask Davis who’d he bring to the draft one day.
“My parents. You gave me chills when you asked me that,” Davis said. “My grandparents too, my grandad really wants to come out.”
As for his attire at the draft, he said this: “I’d be fresh. I probably wouldn’t wear as much bling, a nice watch though.”
Success on and off the field
After spraining his knee in the season opener against Lakewood Ranch (the lone game where he didn’t reach 100 yards), Davis missed the next two matchups against Leto and Trinity Catholic. He said he was pretty down about it, but overall his team had a great season finishing 13-1.
Last year’s undefeated season ended at home in the Class 5A state semifinals to eventual champion Orlando Bishop Moore. Davis calls the home state game a great feeling.
“It’s unfortunate we lost. They are a great team so not taking anything from them but I was upset because we had a great season going undefeated. I thought it was our year.”
Davis says what his group did was a true accomplishment despite falling short. He notices everyone working hard right now and doesn’t see why they can’t make a deep run once again this season, his final one.
“I haven’t been this excited about football since I was little. I realized that I need to be a better role model for the younger kids and a better captain for my team. I know a lot of people look at what I do and I want to set the right example.”
Davis wants to step up to the pressures that come with being a senior starter alongside two key Class of 2017 teammates wide receiver Travell Harris and quarterback Danny Boon.
Playing under a head coach like Matt Thompson, who has guided Jesuit to three straight district titles is truly great for Davis.
“Coach Thompson is a great guy. I met him my freshman year coming in. He’s a great coach. He’s probably one of the coolest coaches you’ll meet, but there is a time and place for everything. With him, you have to know when and when not to joke around.”
Starting off as both a running back and strong safety as a freshman at Jesuit, coaches quickly moved Davis to running back exclusively after discovering out what he can do. He ran for 495 yards as a freshman and 1,728 yards as a sophomore combining for 19 touchdowns.
Davis began his football life at age 7. He says his mom encouraged him to play flag football at age 4, but he never wanted to do that because he just wanted to go out there and tackle. Coming from a large family with six older siblings, four brothers and two sisters, Davis says a lot of people depend on him often.
He says his brothers, parents and grandparents always teach him the do’s and don’ts and that’s something he appreciates.
Davis plays with such great vision and burst when he gets in the open field, but he says his confidence is at an all-time high following his junior campaign.
“I’ve been confident, but I have never been this confiden. I think it’s because I started to see how much people look up to me and watch the stuff I do.”
His household consists of just him and his parents as all his siblings are moved out. Davis says his parents keep him focused on a daily basis.
He calls his mom his biggest cheerleader and admits that she gets emotional every time he receives an offer. As for his dad, he says he just tells him to keep working hard.
Davis loves the environment that Jesuit’s student section, the “Blue Tide” brings on Friday nights. He says he joins them during other sporting events as well including the latest basketball state run.
“It’s like everybody on the team is a celebrity. They treat us with the utmost respect. I love the school. It is definitely an honor to go here.”
Everything I’ve heard before and after talking to Davis was nothing but great things. Travell Harris and Kendrick Torain, two guys I interviewed last month truly enjoy playing alongside him. Rising junior Thierry Moliere for the basketball team told me on Sunday that Davis and him are good buddies and it’s hard to find a better guy than him out there.
Davis has his head on straight and is destined for big things this season and beyond, but he did admit one thing about his school environment.
“Coming here it’s an all boys school and I know with girls I probably wouldn’t be as focused.”
As for personal statistical goals, Davis doesn’t have any for this upcoming season. He cares more about his legacy as a role model for Jesuit’s present and future players.
“I think if you don’t think about it, it will happen,” Davis said about statistical goals. “So any goals I want are probably leaving a good impression here at my school and on my team to be one of the best captains and teammates that they’ve ever played with. I want to be remembered as a great teammate, person and player.”
In terms of his biggest role model in life, Davis named his dad in that role.
“My dad is a good person. He knows a lot of things before I do it. Even if I did something wrong he’ll know. It’s kind of weird sometimes. He always tells me he’s been there and done that. He takes care of a lot of people in my family.”
Sitting back and thinking about what all his college offers means, Davis says it’s an honor to have someone want to pay for you to go to college, the next step he is thinking about. He wants to study sports medicine.
“I want to go to a great college and get my degree. I’m just thinking about graduating college and blessed that football can take me this far. Kids wish they could be in my shoes so it’s a great feeling. I thank God every day.”
As for his biggest strengths currently, Davis says being an every down back, being both strong and fast are keys to his game. He doesn’t have to come out on third down and he says when defenses get tired that’s when he can break for a long run.
He clearly is confident considering he said he doesn’t have any weaknesses in his game currently. Davis said: “If I had one I wouldn’t put it out there.”
I agree with him simply because it’s really hard to find anything he does wrong as a football player. He has all the tools to be successful for years to come.
The main focus this off-season for Davis is to continue to get stronger. He wants to get to a solid 195 lbs. and bring that weight with him throughout the season and into college.
If you haven’t seen Davis play I suggest you do before its too late. He runs with such elusiveness and power. He makes it very tough to bring him down. It’s hard to see where he can improve in 2016, but I’m sure Davis will find a way to do it.
Malik Davis is a name you won’t forget. I promise you that.
Favorite players – Marshawn Lynch, Christian McCaffery
Playlist before games – Eminem, Future, Kodak Black
Favorite movies – The Longest Yard, XXX
Favorite TV shows – ESPN, Family Matters
Fun fact about you that nobody knows – “I’m raw at ping pong.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – “Lik”
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.