Photo by Gabriel Stovall
Lovejoy defensive tackle Mike Davis may be considered undersized and underhyped but the 6-foot-1 inch senior has proven valuable to one of the state’s top defenses.
HAMPTON — When Lovejoy’s Mike Davis talks, you have to really hone in to hear the soft-spoken defensive tackle. Davis admits that he is a young man of few words.
And defensive coordinator Kevin Jones won’t argue with him.
“If you don’t speak to him yourself he’ll never say a word,” Jones said.
Ask Jones about Davis’ worth to seventh-ranked Lovejoy’s stingy defense — a unit surrendering just six points a contest, including four shutouts — however, and the coach is anything but speechless.
“He doesn’t get any credit for his size,” said Jones of the 6-feet-1 inch, 260-pound senior. “I don’t think the kid knows how strong he is. He could get out of bed in the morning, wash his face and brush his teeth and go do a 330-pound bench press like it’s nothing.”
In fact, Davis said his heaviest lift was 350 pounds which he once hoisted three times.
It’s the kind of strength that keeps him from being overwhelmed by larger offensive linemen. It’s the kind of strength that Jones said helps create opportunities for some of the Wildcats’ defensive stars to shine.
And for Davis, that’s more than okay.
“I force [offensive linemen] to double team me and I keep them posted up or push them back,” Davis said. “That allows our other guys to make their plays.”
The three-year starter calls his ability to play “fast and strong” the strength of his game in the defensive trenches. And Jones said there is plenty of film evidence to support Davis’ claim.
He recalls a time where he noticed Davis literally taking two linemen out of a play at the same time, leaving room for players like nose tackle Nathaniel Norwood and linebacker Zane Fields to be disruptive in the backfield.
He called it “tilting the line.” But Davis’ 2012 stats show that he’s not just out there doing charity work for his teammates. The Philadelphia native has registered 45 tackles, 10 of them for losses, along with five sacks and three forced fumbles.
And that production has come in games where he’s seen action in just the first half due to Lovejoy blowouts.
Jones knows that despite his success, a lot of larger universities will pass on him playing for them at the next level. But the school that does take a chance will be rewarded.
“Everybody wants the big, pretty 6-foot-3, 300 pound [defensive tackle,] Jones said. “A smaller school will most likely get him, and when they take him they’ll be sending us a box of candy every week to thank us.”