The Florida Gators recruiting class is rife with talent on both side of the ball from heralded defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III and top running back Kelvin Taylor. However, there are a few under the radar signees that could back an impact — a big impact — for the Gators during the course of their career.
Over the course of the next few months, I will analyze the video and comb through the analysis on some of the Gators less heralded players to showcase a few diamonds in the rough.
The first player in the installment is Camden County linebacker Jarrad Davis.
Jarrad Davis, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound outside linebacker, is likely the least mentioned prospect the Gators signed on defense, and maybe outside of center Cameron Dillard, is probably the least talked about signee in the Class of 2013. According to Rivals.com, Davis is the 30th best linebacker in the country and 32nd overall ranked player in Georgia. ESPN has Davis ranked as the 47th best linebacker in the country. Davis, who was once committed to Auburn, committed to the Gators just days after Quinton Powell de-committed on Dec. 15.
Watching Davis on film is quite surprising. At only 220 pounds, Davis is still rather lean for his frame and could afford to add 20 pounds without skipping a beat. The most important part of Davis adding weight, however, is continuous speed and agility training, because his speed is what separates him from the other linebackers in the class. If Davis can add the weight and keep the speed, he could be a very solid strong-side linebacker for the Gators who should have no problem in coverage or closing gaps, while providing excellent outside run support.
Further, it is easy to notice that Davis is a sure tackler. Davis can lay a big hit, which you can see a few times in his highlight tapes, but it is his tackling that makes you happy to see in a prospect. Davis hits mid-torso, wraps up and follows through in his tackles. Very rarely did I see Davis going for a tackle where he was off-balance or where he didn’t follow through. However, his biggest downfall when tackling is that if his feet are no set to make the tackle, he lacks the power to bring the player down and subsequently drags the player to the ground.
Also, it is hard to miss Davis’ instincts and strong football IQ. Davis seems to pick up plays quickly and attack holes and gaps without hesitation. Davis, however, does seem to pick up running players quicker than passing plays, which is something he will learn in college.
All in all, Davis still has to add a decent amount of size, before he is a major contributor for Florida. But I see a solid linebacker with a great frame, good speed and great football IQ.
My prediction for him next year: strong special teams contributor and solid backup contributor to linebacker corp.