With regards to the NFL Draft, life can be tough for kids who come from small schools. Anyone coming from a school outside the Power 5 conferences is behind the proverbial 8-ball when it comes to making an impression and garnering national attention. They don’t tend to get the benefit of the doubt and typically have to work that much harder to take advantage of every opportunity and really squeeze every ounce out of each chance they get.
One of the guys who has maximized his opportunity and separated himself from others, in both play and self-promotion, is the young cornerback from UTSA Devron Davis. Davis has been incredibly active on social media, putting his name out there to get people to take notice, myself included. Digging in to the tape on Davis, you see a physical corner who has all the tools to succeed at the next level, despite the small-school upbringing.
Devron’s path to this point wasn’t the conventional one, but he’s made the most of his opportunities, has put in the work, and has developed into one of the better cornerbacks in the nation. I was lucky enough to be able to interview Devron and get the chance to introduce him to our readers here at Breaking Football. Say hello to an ultra-talented DB who should be taken within the first three rounds of April’s NFL Draft.
- For some of our readers who may not know your story, can you talk a little about the journey that has led you from Merced to UTSA?
Answer: Well I went to Lincoln High School, ended up going to Franklin High school my senior year. I was a kid who kind of bounced because of my circumstances. Me and my mom didn’t really have a lot growing up, so I kind of bounced around a little bit. Made it very difficult to have grades and stuff like that. I had San Diego State and Arizona out of high school, I just didn’t academically qualify, so I ended up going the junior college route. Went to junior college, played real hard, led the team in interceptions both years ended up getting every offer in the country my sophomore year. Picking up offers LSU, Alabama, all the top teams in the country. Those guys want you out in December, so some of the offers didn’t mix ‘cause I couldn’t get out when they wanted me to. So I ended up basically having a couple offers left and then coach Frank at LSU, he still wanted me. He was still trying to get me to go to LSU, maybe a late commit. Come in and redshirt and maybe play the next year. But he ended up taking the head coaching job at UTSA and he was so loyal to me, I just repaid him with the same loyalty back and came, played corner for him and made a lot of plays for him at UTSA
- Not a lot NFL players take the route that you took, what kept you motivated while you were at the community college level to make it to where you are today?
Answer: I just felt like I could be an impact player anywhere I went. The biggest thing for me was just showing that I could be an impact player and showing that you could put me in any circumstance and that won’t affect me as a football player. That’s really just what it was. Just the mental toughness and capability to be in any kind of situation and be able to come out of it. It’s just like football; you have a bad play, the mental capacity to come back and still be the same confident corner.
Here's a fun guy not enough people are talking about UTSA CB Devron Davis (CB #1) …watch the left side of the screen pic.twitter.com/9IVGRLY6az
— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) December 23, 2017
- When I watch your tape, what jumps out almost immediately is just how physical you are. What motivates you to be so willing to mix it up inside when the knock on my corners is their hesitance in the tackling department?
Answer: I’m one of those guys that, I feel like I’m very versatile. I can play safety, I can play corner, I can play nickel. I just love being physical. I love imposing my will on people and being an aggressive corner. You don’t see too many guys like that, that want to cover but also want to be physical. Jalen Ramsey is one of those guys that does that and I feel like I’m very similar to him in a way.
- Would you say that he’s the guy you’ve tried to model your game after most?
Answer: I think I bring my own little swagger, but I definitely like what Jalen Ramsey brings to the table. His confidence. You know, that same kind of swagger that Josh Norman got. Just that confidence. And those kind of guys last forever because, you know, nothing can make them waver. Nothing can make them change who they are. They stay the course who they are, and that’s the beautiful part of it.
- You mentioned swagger, and you obviously have a lot of it. Wide receivers and corners are kind of known for jawing back and forth at each other. Is there anybody in particular that you’ve played that you feel lays down the most, or the best, smack talk?
Answer: I’ll say Christian Kirk. Me and him were going at it, talking stuff during the game. You know Josh Reynolds from Texas A&M was a guy that liked to talk and try to get in your head at times as well so that’s it for the most part. I’ll even go out and say Thomas Owens at FIU is a guy that wanted to try and dominate you and take the will out of you.
- Obviously you come from UTSA, which is a smaller school and it can be harder to garner attention at that level. What do you think it is about your game and your preparation process that has allowed you to reach the point where you’re being talked about going early in the draft?
Answer: I think, like I said earlier, just the versatility, my size, my speed, and just my football IQ. I think one of the things in this draft that I have more than any corner is just football IQ. Not only knowing football, but explaining what all 11 men do on the field and those kinds of things. Knowing what everyone is doing and how it can help me to be in a better position to make plays.
- Do you feel you have anything extra to prove to the scouts at the NFL Combine and your Pro Day to overcome the “small school stigma”, or are you confident your (impressive) resume speaks for itself?
Answer: I think the film speaks for itself, but I definitely have something to prove just ‘cause that’s the way I am. I’m a competitor and I love to just compete. I’m never complacent on anything, so that’s who I am regardless. If you ever watch film on me and just the team; we had the number 2 defense in the country and it’s not for no reason. You know, obvious Marcus (Davenport) helped with that too with getting sacks, but we also got coverage sacks for him. We also got interceptions. So it’s a total package and this defense wasn’t nothing…there’s no fluke about it.
- You mentioned your teammate Marcus Davenport there, how does it help you guys as corners to have such a dominant pass rusher up front?
Answer: It’s great! We had him for two years. He really exploded on the scene his senior year and that’s really good. It’s really good to have a guy that can win his one-on-one matchups and get to the quarterback to for the quarterback to do things he probably wouldn’t do if he didn’t have pressure in his face. It’s always good to have that.
- I’ve read in a couple interviews prior to the season that you thought you “had a chance to go Day 2”, do you still feel that way, or do you think your draft stock has improved over the course of the season?
Answer: I definitely feel like I could go Day 2. I think it’s kind of hard sometimes when you’re not getting the same attention as those guys at the Power 5. What a lot of people don’t understand, the thing about Power 5 and Group of 5…it’s not the athletes at skill positions that’s different, it’s the d-linemen and o-linemen that are different. That’s really the biggest difference between Power 5 and Group of 5. Group of 5 guys stand out more than the Power 5 guys. That’s really just the biggest difference.
- Talking a little more about the Draft here, If you had the power to choose what team took you in the NFL Draft, do you have any preference?
Answer: No. Any team that takes me, I’ll be more than happy to be a contributor. That’s who I am. I’m a guy that likes to contribute to any team that feels like they have faith in me and care for me. That’s how I do. That’s the biggest thing, to just be happy to play in the NFL to be able to help my team.
- If you could notch a pick-6 off any current NFL QB, who would top your list?
Answer: Oh man, that’s an easy one. Tom Brady. Him or Aaron Rodgers. They’ve been doing this for a while, they’ve been very successful. As you could say, they’re Hall of Fame guys and one of the two could be considered the best to ever play quarterback in the National Football League. So you can pretty much do the math on that one.
- What would you say has been the biggest improvement in your game from last year to this year?
Answer: Just press coverage from the bottom of the route. Just being more patient. Being more patient and, you know, controlling my eyes through the move area and learning when to look for the ball. Stuff like that. Just being more patient and being more fluid at corner. My hips got a lot looser and continue to do so. Just that and being more patient at the bottom of the route.
- I want to ask you a little bit about your Roadrunners team here. You guys went and were bowl eligible this season, but weren’t invited to a bowl game. How do you think it motivates those guys for next season?
Answer: I think it motivates them a lot. To go to a bowl game a year before that and kind of have to not do it again and see how the seniors felt, I think it can kind of show exactly how things can change. That being not everything is guaranteed. So to just show them in the off-season how to work hard, give everything they’ve got and never take anything for granted.
- A couple days ago you tweeted out that you’ve received invites to the College Gridiron Showcase and the Tropical Bowl. Have you made any decisions on which invite you’re accepting?
Answer: I’m gonna be at the College Gridiron Showcase. They’ll have a lot of guys there, receivers that can give me a little bit of work. You know, Steven Ishmael, Armani Foreman, a lot of different guys are gonna be there. I just love to compete and anytime I can go somewhere and compete, do one-on-ones, and practice hard and be around football. I love the game of football with everything I’ve got. Just to be around that is a blessing.
- Before we go, is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about Devron Davis?
Answer: Yeah. I’m just a great guy. I love football, I love being around football. I’m a hard worker. I’m a savvy guy and aggressive. I’m very confident as a football player. I just want to keep learning more and continue to get better.