By virtue of being a first-team All-American, Isaiah Davis-Allen is considered the best short-stick defensive midfielder in Division I. But that’s not how the Maryland senior sees it.
“That’s not something I spend too much time thinking about,” he said Monday. “It’s obviously special, but I think that I’m more team-driven and more focused on winning as a team and focusing on each part, especially this year, with being a senior.”
Davis-Allen’s modesty is countered by his numbers. He scooped up 45 ground balls and caused 11 turnovers to aid a Terps defense that ended last spring ranked 10th in the country in goals allowed per game (8.4). He also scored four goals and assisted on another.
Unlike Davis-Allen, coach John Tillman was not as shy in discussing his value.
“Isaiah does so much for us, and that [reticence] doesn’t surprise me,” he said Wednesday morning. “His humility is part of what makes him such a good leader. If you went to practice, you’d never know that he was a first-team All-American. He competes so hard, he prepares so hard, he’s selfless. He does so much for us outside of covering the ball and playing defense, whether it’s clearing the ball or pushing the ball in transition of picking up ground balls.
"But even when he’s not in the games, he’s coaching the other players, he’s cheering guys on, he’s picking them up. 'Typical Isaiah' is probably the way I’d respond, because he’s never about himself. He’s always about everybody else, and that’s part of what makes him so great. He’s never satisfied, and he always wants to get better, and he has such high standards for himself.”
Because of his experience and demeanor, Davis-Allen is a source for advice for teammates. It’s a role he embraced last season.
“I kind of think I was a leader last year, but definitely more so this year being a senior, and I feel like the freshmen have come to me with issues and things like that,” he said. “I wouldn’t call it pressure, but I would call it more fun. You get a lot closer with certain people on the team because they’re more willing to tell you things that maybe they don’t tell other people on the team.”