In guiding MD Dream to a second-place finish at the BadgerSports 7-on-7 tournament at Rutgers last weekend, the Cardinals cornerback raised his profile once again, with one recruiting website calling him one of the rising stars of the 2012 class.
“It was a great experience to play against some of the top athletes in the nation,” Davis said. “It was great competition up there. … I feel as though it is essential to go to different places and show your face. You want to see everything that’s out there. That’s where the recruiters and scouts are, and the best of the best that compete at different events. Going against guys from out of the state, if I want to be the best, it’s a chance to go out and compete against the best.”
Davis played opposite Poly defensive back Donovan Riley to form a shutdown secondary for MD Dream. The pair’s performance was no surprise to those who have watched them closely.“They were calling them the prime-time twins,” said Calvert Hall defensive backs coach Cory Robinson, who coached MD Dream in Piscataway. “We had, hands down, the top two cornerbacks at the event. They were very, very aggressive, very confident and very skilled. They made a lot of plays and caught everyone’s attention. Teams just stopped throwing on them and kind of just tried to go up the middle of our defense. They really weren’t successful doing that. They locked it down.”
For Davis, the attention from scouts and recruiters is a long time coming. Davis said he “wasn’t highly recruited” by the MIAA schools coming out of middle school, noting that he “wasn’t the best athlete” compared to some of his rec-league teammates. When it came time to choose a high school, there wasn’t a doubt in Davis’ mind about where he hoped to play.
“I wanted to go to Calvert Hall no matter what,” Davis said. “[Calvert Hall coach Donald] Davis came out to two of my games. He said I had some work to do … so I knew I had to work 10 times harder than anybody else. But I’ve been working hard my entire life, so it kind of came naturally to me. It’s been instilled in me that when you work hard, you can actually achieve something.”
Davis joined the Cardinals’ JV program as a freshman, going about his business on the field and off with a “walk-on mentality.” He was elevated to Calvert Hall’s varsity as a sophomore, biding his time behind two senior starters at cornerback while absorbing all the knowledge he could from Robinson.
“I just dedicated myself to becoming a technician and improving my craft,” Davis said.
After his 10th-grade season, Davis traveled to several camps and combines, including one at South Carolina where he had his “coming-out party” by matching up against Cal recruit Avery Walls, a four-star safety who also took reps that day at wide receiver.
As a junior at Calvert Hall, Davis was hampered by hamstring and groin injuries, but still managed to excel all season long for the Cardinals’ vaunted defense. He picked up right where he left off on the combine circuit this winter. His efforts were rewarded last month when he picked up a verbal scholarship offer from West Virginia.
“I was overrun with emotion,” Davis said of the Mountaineers’ offer. “It felt good with all the stuff I’ve been through and all the hard work, to finally have a Division I offer on the table. It feels good to be wanted. I just pray to thank God, thank my parents and coaches and everybody who believed in me. I still have unfinished business. I’m not satisfied with just one scholarship offer. I want to be the best I can be.”
Davis thinks he could be “getting close” to offers from Connecticut, Penn State, Rutgers and South Carolina. He plans on attending several more combines and Junior Day events in the coming months, while working out with his teammates in hopes of leading the Cardinals to another championship. After his senior season, Davis will focus more intently on his college future.
“I want to experience the whole entire recruiting process,” Davis said. “Adrian Amos – he just committed to Penn State – told me that I should take all my official visits before I make my decision. He said the recruiting process is very fun. I want to reap the benefits of being a Division I recruit. So I think I’m going to be a Signing Day guy like him.”
Baltimore Sun photo of Da'Quan Davis by Jed Kirschbaum / Nov. 25, 2010