Mike Davis, who is one of UGA’s top remaining recruiting targets, said he is no “jersey diva.”
The running back from Stephenson High School made national headlines for all the wrong reasons this week: Rivals did an article about the challenges of assigning jersey numbers at national all-star games that was titled “What’s in a number? Apparently quite a bit.”
Monday’s article led off with the story of Kevon Seymour, a star DB prospect from California who was reportedly upset about not being assigned his preferred No. 1 jersey for the U.S. Army All-America Bowl at 1 p.m. Saturday (televised by NBC).
It stated that Seymour “willingly admits he’ll look at the rosters of potential colleges to see if No. 1 is available. If it’s not, the school’s chances of landing him diminish.”
The article also indentified Davis as another all-star who was reportedly pouting about his assigned jersey number:
“One was visibly upset. Mike Davis of Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson made such a fuss about his assigned No. 16 that he was given a new number (14), making him the only player without his name on his jersey. But that didn’t help – neither was the No. 28 he wanted.”
The article quickly went viral, appearing on Yahoo’s homepage and on other websites, including Deadspin, which added “You’d think they were a couple of 8-year-old girls fighting over the last Hello Kitty backpack in your local Wet Seal [children’s clothing store].”
Most damagingly, it also ignited a wave of negative comments about Davis on college football message boards, including fans of his five finalists – UGA, South Carolina, Florida State, Clemson and Tennessee. To many, it made Davis come across as a “me first” and self-absorbed prospect that nobody wants despite a wealth of talent.
On late Tuesday night, Davis told the AJC that the Rivals story was incorrect. This is his version of events:
“This is exactly what happened, since they tried to twist the story around: I was a late invitation to play in the game and when I got there, they gave me the No. 14 jersey I guess to walk around in. I was assigned No. 16 for the game. When I looked at the roster, I saw that nobody had my high school jersey, which is No. 28. I asked the director if I could get No. 28 because no one had it. If someone already had 28, I would’ve never said anything. I would’ve stuck with whatever number they gave me. The director was like, he was going to try his best to get No. 28 for me, and that was the end of it. I didn’t fuss about it. I just asked him. I don’t know where they got where I was fussing about it. The reporter never talked to me about it. Go read the story – I’m not even quoted in it. It’s just not true.
“I guess they put me in the article because other people were talking about jersey numbers, and they just needed someone else. But them putting me in story that went all over the Internet was just wrong. It was wrong because it made people look at me the wrong way. My family back in Georgia heard all about it and called me because they were surprised. They know I’m not like that. That article made me look like a bad person and that I’m going to be a cancer to a college team. That’s not true at all. You can ask my high school teammates and my coaches. I’m a good person and a team player.”
Davis will announce his college decision on Jan. 31. How important is a jersey number in picking a college? “That’s the thing about all of this; I haven’t even talked to a college about a specific number,” Davis said. “It wouldn’t be important at all. The only thing I’m looking at is playing time and the place where I feel at home. Picking a college number isn’t something that’s serious to me.”
Is Davis leaning to UGA? There was another report that claimed UGA was the leader for Davis. “That was a misunderstanding but not a big deal like the jersey thing. It was the way the reporter asked the question. I thought he was asking me ‘out of the three visits I have taken – Georgia, FSU and Tennessee – which one would I pick if I had to sign this weekend?’ I said Georgia. I did. And I like Georgia, but I still have to finish my visits in January. It’s between those five schools. I will pick on Jan. 31.”
One last thing about Davis and his all-star jersey: He will be wearing the No. 28 with his name across the back on Saturday. Game officials brought it to him after practice.
Georgia players in US Army All-America Bowl, 1 p.m Saturday on NBC-TV
Assistant coaches: Corey Jarvis, Duluth; Randy McPherson, Lowndes
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT OVER THE HOLIDAYS …
ALSO: Expect to Cook High School WR Travin Henry to get a lot of looks this month. Just before the NCAA dead period, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder picked up a handful of offers — Memphis, Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky. “Quite a few others have expressed interest dating back to this past summer,” Cook assistant Jesse Lynch said. “UGA has shown interest, but they are an unlikely destination as they have higher-rated prospects at each of the positions they were recruiting him at [OLB, TE]. They have told him that there is still a possibilty depending on how things go with their top-rated recruits and early entry NFL prospects. Other D1’s that have shown interest in the last year are Central Florida, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Louisiana-Lafayette, Kentucky, Tulane, Florida International, Western Michigan, and UAB.” Here’s Henry’s video …
-- By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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