What was supposed to be a chance for Keionta Davis to solidify himself as a major college football prospect never materialized.
After an impressive junior season at Red Bank High School and a summer of turning heads at several college skills camps, Davis' prep football career ended weeks before his senior season kicked off when he tore the ACL in his left knee during a noncontact drill in early August.
"He played great as a junior and opened some eyes at summer camps, but last fall was going to be his breakout season," Lions coach Tim Daniels said. "I hate it for the kid, but in a strange way, if it was going to happen to one of our players, he's the one who can overcome it because of his drive and work ethic."
Davis underwent surgery to repair the torn ligament and is ahead of his scheduled returned to athletics. According to Daniels, he is very close to being cleared to return to the basketball court, which could be an opportunity for the football scouts not scared off by the injury to see Davis' progress.
"He still has people interested, but they want to see him run and cut and jump, so when he joins the basketball team, that should help his stock," Daniels said.
During his junior season, playing mostly defensive end, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Davis recorded 33 solo tackles, caused one fumble, intercepted a pass against Brainerd and showed his quickness by blocking three punts. When Red Bank maxed out in the weight room last spring, he squatted 735 pounds.
Davis had been on the radar for several college scouts but really noticed a spike in interest after turning heads with his versatility at the University of Tennessee's linebacker and defensive linemen camps. He was versatile enough to be considered a prospect at both defensive end and linebacker, and when Murray State coaches spoke with Daniels last summer, their only hesitation in recruiting Davis was that he would likely get offers from more high-profile programs.
Before the injury, he was already drawing interest from Middle Tennessee State, Jacksonville State, Tennessee Tech and UT-Chattanooga.
"It looks like he may be asked to be an invited walk on at some of the bigger programs, but there are still several schools interested in watching him now to see how his recovery is going," Daniels said. "He's just such a freakish athlete and a good kid and student, he will make somebody a really good player.
"It would be the tougher road to take to get to play, but he's got the mindset of coming back and proving he can still go."
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...