Georgia Bulldogs defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt wanted to put his stamp on the defense during the spring. And the way he did it was by giving new players a chance to make an impact. If there is one player who did that during spring practice, then-cornerback Aaron Davis is the winner.
Technically, Aaron Davis is not a newcomer. He was on the team last season but did not play in a single game. He dressed in two home games and made the trip with the team to the Gator Bowl last year.
So how did Davis become a guy who was barely on the team to a leading candidate to win a starting cornerback position in less than a year?
Most fans know that Davis is a walk-on, and he was able to do some big things in the spring game. But what fans may not realize is that he is playing cornerback for the first time in his career.
Davis was a standout receiver at Luella High School in Locust Grove, Georgia. In 2010, he was named to the All-Region 2-AAAAA team and was being scouted by major Division I programs. But things would take a turn for the worst the following season, as he tore his ACL in the spring game. He missed his entire junior season and would re-injure the same knee his senior year, which led to him missing all but one game.
But in that one game he played his senior year, he caught 11 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns. However, colleges stopped calling him, and Davis did not want to play at the Division II or Division III level, which were the only schools interested in him.
So Davis called Georgia, and it let him on the team as a preferred walk-on. And despite not having a football scholarship, he was able to get an academic scholarship because he had a 4.5 GPA. He worked with the team all last season but never got the see any playing time.
Now with Pruitt at the helm, Davis was able to impress the coaches during spring practices and do the same thing at the spring game, as he tallied three tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.
Kenneth Towns and Aaron Davis named as UGA's Outstanding Walk-ons for the Spring— UGA Football News (@UGAfootballLive) April 15, 2014
That is impressive for a walk-on, but then again, Davis is not an average walk-on. Injuries have made his path a little more challenging, but based on the way he’s looked last month in the spring practices, the talent was always there.
During the final days of spring practice, linebacker Jordan Jenkins told Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Davis worked his tail off and doesn’t make mental mistakes. Davis added that he was just doing what he was told and he always tires to do the right thing even when fatigue is kicking in.
There is no telling if Davis will still be No.1 on the depth chart when preseason practice begins because of the incoming freshmen who are looking for some playing time. Not to mention, the reserves, such as Devin Bowman and Sheldon Dawson, will look to prove they are worthy of starting. But Davis has a chip on his shoulder, and if he continues to work hard and absorb everything the coaches tell him to do, he will see a lot of action when the Bulldogs kickoff the season against Clemson at the end of August.