Stephenson’s Mike Davis is starting to make a name for himself

Stephenson's Mike Davis breaks a tackle to gain more yardage in a game against Newton County last October. (AJC photo by Collin C. Chappelle)

Stephenson's Mike Davis breaks a tackle to gain more yardage in a game against Newton County last October. (AJC photo by Collin C. Chappelle)

The numbers Mike Davis put up as a junior at Stephenson High School aren’t necessarily eye-popping — about 1,200 yards rushing, 14 TDs, one on a kickoff return. Not, that is, until placed into context.

Davis produced those numbers not as the primary ball-carrier for the Jaguars, but as a backup to senior starter Willie Davis. The other Davis (no relation) rushed for 1,100 yards and is now a South Florida signee. Looking a little closer, you start to understand why Mike Davis has received a new scholarship opportunity approximately every other day for the last month

“These last few weeks have been really exciting for me,” said Davis, who had no scholarship offers at the turn of the New Year but has 15 as of today. “They really have. I’m starting to see that all my hard work is going to pay off. I’m starting to hear that coaches are interested in me. They’re watching my highlight film; they like what they see; they think I’ll fit in their system.”

Davis’s very first offer came from South Carolina the week of the Georgia Junior Bowl, which was played the second weekend in January. The latest came from Louisville on Tuesday. The last two weeks came a steady stream of offers from Clemson, Florida, FSU, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Memphis, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Penn State, UCF, USF and Vanderbilt.

Suddenly Davis finds himself awash in opportunity.

“Every morning I come to school I get a text from my coach telling me that this school has offered me or that one has offered me,” he said. “And I just get excited every time.”

There are reasons for the sudden interest. Davis has good size (5-foot-11, 185 pounds), decent speed (4.5 seconds) and an impressive highlight video that’s just beginning to make its rounds on the Internet.

He also has a very familiar football name.

Davis is the younger brother of former Clemson star and current NFL player James Davis. The elder Davis (5-11, 218) starred at Douglass High, was a four-star recruit and left Clemson as the Tigers’ fourth-leading yardage gainer of all-time. Now 25, James Davis is currently a member of the Washington Redskins.

Interestingly, Mike hasn’t found his brother to be a great resource for dealing with the sudden recruiting attention. The youngest of five siblings and”the baby”in the Davis clan, Mike is seven years younger than his famous older brother.

“I remember some things [about James' recruitment] but not a lot,” Mike said. “I wasn’t around really. I was playing football, too. But I do remember coaches coming over and being in the living room talking to him and my mom. I remember I thought he was going to Tennessee. I thought he committed to Tennessee, and then the next thing I heard it was Alabama and then it was Clemson. I was like, ‘oh my God, Clemson? Really?’”

At the same time James was making a name for himself at Clemson, Mike was a middle-school terror on defense. It was only after the family’s frequent trips up I-85 to Clemson’s Death Valley that Mike started admiring what his big brother was doing in games. It occurred to him maybe he should consider carrying the football.

“I started seeing his abilities as a running back and helping his team win,” Mike said. “So I was like, ‘give me a shot at running back.’ Ever since then I’ve been playing the position.”

But Mike has had to bide his time at Stephenson. A notoriously talent-laden football program, Davis had to sit behind Raymond Sanders, now at Kentucky, as a sophomore and Willie Davis as a junior.

Frustrating at the time, Mike is able to see the benefits of that now.

“Being behind Raymond Sanders and Willie was great,” Mike said. “I’ve learned a lot from both of them. Raymond is a great person to be around. He’s a great kid. When I was young I’d be like, ‘why am I not getting very much playing time?’ And he’d tell me, ‘you’re just in the 10th grade; be patient and you’re time is going to come. And when your time comes, make the best of it.’ He used to always tell me that.

“Willie and me, we’re great buddies. Both of us have the last name Davis so everybody thinks we’re brothers. People ask me every day, ‘how’s your brother?’ I’ll be, like, ‘James?’ They say, ‘no, Willie.’ But we are like brothers.”

Suddenly Mike finds himself alone in the limelight, and it’s a little unsettling at times. Now he’s the man everybody wants, not somebody’s little brother or backup.

And the sudden myriad of choices is a bit overwhelming. At one point he envisioned himself fielding as many offers as possible and contemplating his future as a high school senior. Now he finds himself with several dream offers sitting right in his lap with months remaining in his junior year.

“I wanted to sit back and see how many offers I could get at first, but now I don’t know,” Davis said. “Now you might even see a commitment on my birthday”

Davis’ 18th birthday is Feb. 19th, which is this Saturday. As it turns out, Davis and his teammates will be on a trip to Florida this weekend to visit the Gators’ football complex.

A tell-tale sign?

“It might be; you never know,” Davis teased. “We’re supposed to go to Tennessee the next weekend, so you’ll just have to wait and see.”

One thing’s for sure: For Mike Davis, the wait is over. His time is now.

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog.

132 comments Add your comment

RRTDawgs

February 16th, 2011
11:35 am

UGA needs go after Mike Davis with Drake and Jones of the board am i first .

gadawgs

February 16th, 2011
11:37 am

Chip, Have you heard anything about UGA looking at him? Since Jones committed to FL this past weekend I am wondering who we will target.

Asleep at the wheel

February 16th, 2011
11:40 am

This just proves that mark richt is now resting on his laurels and letting a home boy slip away.

Chip Towers

February 16th, 2011
11:42 am

gadawgs, RRTDawgs: Yeah, I’ve heard something about UGA looking at him. Or, to be more exact, not looking at him. I was saving this tidbit for Thursday’s Ten@10 but I’ll go ahead share Davis’s thoughts on Georgia here:

“When I started getting offers like every other day I was wondering, ‘this is my home state, Georgia. Colleges from out of state are offering me but Georgia is the only team that has not.’ It’s made me wonder, what is the hold up? I’m left to think they just don’t have much interest in me. I still wonder if and when they’ll offer me. I guess I just have to be patient and wait.”

Asked if an offer from the Bulldogs was something he covets, Davis said, “It’s Georgia. Yes sir.”

RRTDawgs

February 16th, 2011
11:46 am

UGA has window to after this kid with Bama and Florida set at RB and Clemson full i am sure UGA will start looking at him now that there top RB targets are gone .

RRTDawgs

February 16th, 2011
11:48 am

Thanks for the info Chip on Mike Davis great work .

DC

February 16th, 2011
11:52 am

He wouldn’t have done that against Newnan two years ago…Just saying…still good back though.

gregdog

February 16th, 2011
11:55 am

Hey “asleep at the wheel” (fitting name), if you were really a UGA fan you would know what CMR had to say about people coming and offering up schollies like candy at Halloween. He’s only going to offer a kid if that is one that will be on the table no matter what…unlike some of these schools (SCe being chief among them). Many of these out of state schools come in and offer everybody they can and then back off the scholarship at a later date. Look up what happened to the two kids that were told on signing day that they in fact didn’t have a commitable offer by Spurrier. This is not the way CMR operates. It’s no different than the kid Daniels who’s father played at UGA. The kid was upset UGa didn’t offer, but he wouldn’t come to Athens for a a camp…so no offer. If this young man deserves an offer from UGA (and we need another RB) then he will get an offer. Oh yeah…UGA is also going after a 5 star running back out of NC by the name of Marshall. He is the RB that UGA covets…

gregdog

February 16th, 2011
11:57 am

Hey RRTdawgs…UGA’s top RB target is NOT off the board. See the above post at 11:55. That said, it may be a bit harder to get that top notch RB prospect next year with IC in the fold…

Worm

February 16th, 2011
11:59 am

UGA has all its eggs in the Keith Marshall basket now..They offer slower than most so Davis may get an offer soon..It’s very unusual to have 2 of your main 3 targets already off the board this early.

RRTDawgs

February 16th, 2011
11:59 am

K. Loyal and I. Cross UGA should target as well still real good RBs out there 2012 is long time away recruiting is not over till NSD .

RxDawg

February 16th, 2011
12:02 pm

Good article. I too was wondering where UGA was in the picture, thanks for sharing Chip.

SouthGaBrave

February 16th, 2011
12:03 pm

gregdog is correct. Keith Marshall from Raleigh, NC has potential to be the top rated RB in the country next year and he is the Dawgs TOP target. He has stated in interviews that his running back idol is Herschel Walker. He has been a fan/follower of UGA even growing up in NC (and who can blame him with the college football played in that state). Anthony Dasher (from Rivals) feels that he is UGA’s to lose if they put in their due-diligence with him in recruiting (which they are).

Vick=Dog killing thug

February 16th, 2011
12:07 pm

Good post gregdog

Dawg fans just have to trust in CMR and believe that he’s looking at all the kids.

Vick=Dog killing thug

February 16th, 2011
12:09 pm

You have to like a kid that has a NFL player in the family. Shows that he’s been exposed to hard work and success. Might also give him reason to stay for 4 years instead of 3.

RRTDawgs

February 16th, 2011
12:12 pm

Looks like we are going hard after Marshall and he has developed a strong relationship with Richt but i be worried about NC State O’ Brian has done a good job recruiting in NC.

DawginLex

February 16th, 2011
12:26 pm

How many running backs do we need?

Crowell-FR
Ealey-JR
King-SR
Malcome-FR
Thomas-SR

I’d say 1 more stud RB is about all we can get. We need to focus on wide receivers and offensive linemen and linebackers for 2012.

Rut Roh

February 16th, 2011
12:28 pm

Obviously the Georgia coach does not have his head in the sand. His top 3 targets just happen to be top targets, nationally. I’d rather him go after the best of the best, not just the best he’s fairly certain he could get. No knock on the Davis kid. Looks like he’s going to find a nice home, regardless. And if he’s patient, it just might be at UGA, if that’s what he really wants. There’s no shame in being a little patient waiting on the best RB in the country to make up his mind, first.

Randall "Pink" Floyd

February 16th, 2011
12:30 pm

RRTDawgs, O’Brien just wrapped up what was the consensus WORST recruiting class in the entire ACC. The in-state school to worry about with Marshall is not State. It’s Carolina.

SouthGaBrave

February 16th, 2011
12:32 pm

DawginLex – With this being the last year for Carlton Thomas and Caleb King (if Caleb gets his grade up), and the unsure future of Ealey, UGA is going to need 2 running backs in this class. 1 can be on a kid that is a “project” that would definitely redshirt and contribute down the line. But it would be nice to hit a homer and land Marshall in that other slot.

Go Jackets 88

February 16th, 2011
12:34 pm

Is Georgia Tech in the running for him?

GT hulk

February 16th, 2011
12:35 pm

PJ wont get him unless Ga. Southern, UAB, Elon or Wofford are after him.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chad Simmons and Keith Niebuhr, Chip Towers. Chip Towers said: Stephenson’s Mike Davis is starting to make a name for himself http://bit.ly/giFuFv [...]

old montgomery dawg

February 16th, 2011
12:43 pm

Asleep at the wheel .Wake up , Go to youtube and look at Keith Marshell.I think Coach Richt has a ideal what is is doing.

SouthGaBrave

February 16th, 2011
12:43 pm

My bad. Carlton will only be a redshirt JR next year. We still need 2 RB’s in the 2012 class though.

McDawg

February 16th, 2011
12:43 pm

GA doesn’t offer unless that have done a full evaluation-once he gets to a camp if the coaches like what they see he’ll get an offer

dawgerbrown

February 16th, 2011
12:44 pm

Impressive highlights. Like the fact that he is shifty and so elusive. Can stop on a dime, and then accelerate. UGA hasn’t had a back with those skills in a long time. Would be good to see him in a DAWGS uniform.

dawgster

February 16th, 2011
12:49 pm

Anyone that thinks Coach Richt and the georgia staff is going ot rest on their quote “laurels”…well obvisously know very little about recruiting or football in my opinion…Georgia has always been careful to not rush to offering every kid as some other programs due…There are several RB’s that we are targeting…and believe me the Matt Jones recruiting is far from over…..If this young man will be patient, then i believe the dawgs will give him a good look, but we are not going to offer just for the sake of offering…The dawgs did very well this past recruiting season so i have to trust that they know what they are doing….but i agree that they need to let the prime targets know where they see them fitting in…..i still feel last year we could have had M. Caffey to go along with Crowell had we offered him..but the dawgs chose not too, have to believe that had another plan for future RB’s…go dawgs

DawginLex

February 16th, 2011
12:51 pm

This kid just reminds me of Richard Samuel who is now playing linebacker. Not all that fast. Not that big. Good moves but so did Samuel.

It is early. Getting a VC from Marshall might pave the way to offer this kid since we would be stocked 3 deep.

7576DAWG

February 16th, 2011
12:59 pm

I think UGA has had it with 5′11″ 185 lbs. tailback’s. What Georgia wants is a tailback that is 6′2″ 220 lbs. Blocking is very important for CMR and they have found that the bigger back’s are better blockers.
Also, Georgia probably feels that his older brother will have a big influence on him as to where he end up and right now Clemson is probably about 80% a done deal.

old montgomery dawg

February 16th, 2011
12:59 pm

ideal what he is doing. There got it right.

K Conley

February 16th, 2011
1:05 pm

UGA fan here who can tell you that we will end up playing second fiddle to UNC in this recruiting war for Keith Marshall. N.C. State is indeed NOT the team the Dawgs need to worry about, it’s the team from Chapel Hill. Butch has been after this kid for quite some time, and has made him the priority as Richt did with Crowell. Would love to have him come to UGA, but he’s going to end up at UNC. Our state has plenty of quality RBs, and Coach Richt will get quality backs on campus. Let’s build depth on the offensive and defensive lines with this class. This is what will separate UGA from other SEC programs, not elite skill position players. (We have plenty of those.)

RRTDawgs

February 16th, 2011
1:07 pm

UGA will get a good RB for 2012 becuase Ealey or King will gone I hope we get Marshall but as a plan B K. Loyal , I . Cross, Mike Davis and if we can get Matt Jones to flip great .

The Sham

February 16th, 2011
1:07 pm

Someone please pass along the link to Richt’s comments about why UGA is sometimes slow to offer. I think he could do well by himself to hang tight and not jump to commit. If he wants to be a DAWG, don’t rush to judge UGA’s non-offer just yet.

That being said, UGA – hurry the #3!! up! It’s not unheard of to have 2 RBs in one class. If either of them are open for competition (Ealey are you listening?), it shouldn’t persuade them to not choose UGA just bc another RB committed.

same story

February 16th, 2011
1:16 pm

UGA should just offer every football player in the state, get them to spring and have try outs like in high school

same story

February 16th, 2011
1:18 pm

oh yea, uga already has a guy that “that runs this state” so maybe the kid should look else where

Sammy Dawg

February 16th, 2011
1:19 pm

tech has about as much chance with this kid as Samford or Furman does. Go coach manboobs!

dawgster

February 16th, 2011
1:21 pm

Agree with K. Conley…UNC will be the team to beat but the dawgs will put up a fight and its a long ways to NSD…that being said, the dawgs are in good shape with the skill players, but should continue to upgrade our O-lines and D-lines….if we want to win championships that is where it starts….Everyone wants the skill players, they seem to get the most hype, but in the trenches is where your championships are won for the most part….Also, we are recruiting hard at the WR position as that is also an area of need…Lets be a little patient and don’t rush to offer because we get bent out of shape over an article or two in the newspaper….Not a dish on Chip, but we should do very well in recruiting, and a great year on the field will only make it much more appealing to be a dawg…go dawgs

same story

February 16th, 2011
1:22 pm

yea he might break 1000 yds in a season, sure he would rather split time and get the popular 600yds

7576DAWG

February 16th, 2011
1:23 pm

I think that UGA thought they had Matt Jones wrapped up and they did until Florida’s new coach brought in the pro style offense. So now UGA is left high and dry as far as another running back in 2010 other than Crowell. They felt that Crowell along with Malcomb and Ealey was enough until Jones showed up in 2012. Now they can’t count on Jones and they didn’t have time to get another great running back for 2011 .
That’s why UGA need’s a better policy in recruiting. At key position’s like QB, or running back’s we should be offering 5 or 6 of the best running back’s in the nation with another 5 or 6 in the southeast. Tell them that the first 2 that commit get to go to UGA and leave the competition open for a possible third. In that way when a targeted recruit decides to go somewhere’s else we are not left looking like fools and high and dry because our genius recruiting coordinator didn’t have a back up plan.

RRTDawgs

February 16th, 2011
1:26 pm

I agree dawgster getting a WR it was good that we locked up CJ Curry if we don’t get Marshall than we should go hard after K. loyal and I . Cross i have that they are the real deal .

IgotaGonmyface

February 16th, 2011
1:27 pm

I can’t believe CMR has not signed more 6 star athletes!! He needs to go and take BooBoo with him!!

dawgster

February 16th, 2011
1:28 pm

Ok, here’s a kid to watch for…he’s 6-2, 225 lbs, runs a sub 4.3 40 and his strong as an ox…just a freshman…didn’t play football last year, but will be playing RB this year…The opinion is that he will be better than Hershel or Bo….no offer from the dawgs yet, or as a matter of fact not from any team…i think the main reason is that he is a fantasy football player that my son made in his NCAA 10 or 11 football game….but his future looks bright…Ok…don’t bash me too much, just thouht i would add some humor to the blog…go dawgs

RRTDawgs

February 16th, 2011
1:31 pm

Hey dawgster what the name of the RB .

gadawgs

February 16th, 2011
1:32 pm

Thanks Chip.

black n blue blood

February 16th, 2011
1:33 pm

GREAT read! Another SHS standout!

7576DAWG

February 16th, 2011
1:33 pm

I know that Bobo got a lot of credit for this years recruit’s but I hope he can follow it up next year and then we will know that Drew wasn’t the main reason we got so many great commit’s.

dawgster

February 16th, 2011
1:41 pm

@7576 Dawg…i understand your comments and agree to a point with some of it, but i think our staff did very well last year and i see no reason to think they are not capable of doing great again….I would have liked to had another RB in this past class, but the dawgs i believe will be adding at least 2 very good RB’s next year…Who they are at this time remain to be seen…As i have said, Matt Jones is not a done deal, regardless of what is being reported…and yes the change in coaches and offensive schemes at Fla has given Matt some things to consider…What most of you need to remember is we just signed probably the number 1 RB in the nation.. that will affect alot of kids decisions, just as alot of us were commenting on here about Crowell and why Bama was ok at RB, so if he wanted to play immediately, then the dawgs were the place to be…Now what do we tell the elite backs about playing time….Alot of what happens with these elite RB’s will change as the season plays out and the teams depth charts are worked out and we see what kind of playing time the other RB’s get…Many of these early committments i can assure you will probably change as they start taking their official visits and our coaches sit down with the parents…Its a long way till NSD, and its not to early to start, i agree, but we need to trust our coaches and let them target the needs of our team…go dawgs

VA DAWG

February 16th, 2011
1:42 pm

Kids know that UGA is slow to offer b/c the head coach wants to offer a kid an actual committable offer. Its not new that UGA operates much differently than other schools who throw out scholarships to everyone to see whom will bite first and retract one when a “bigger fish” ( i.e. Clowney) comes along (a la usc-light, bama, etc.). Marshall seems to be priority #1 @ RB for UGA at this time, but circumstances can change quickly. If he wants to be a DAWG, he should continue to compete and earn his offer. Wish the kid luck no matter where he ends up. GO DAWGS!

dawgster

February 16th, 2011
1:46 pm

@RRTDawgs…i could be wrong on this but i believe he calls him HW.ll…or Herschel ll…anyway, the guy has alot of potential…i’m anxious to see how he does this next season…oh and he can also kick field goals for whatever that is worth, like there will be a need for that…go dawgs