Just five years ago, the Arkansas Razorbacks backfield contained two future first-rounders (Darren McFadden and Felix Jones) and another running back/fullback 'tweener (Peyton Hillis) who was one of the best backs in the NFL in 2010. In Hillis' big year for the Cleveland Browns, the Hogs unveiled another back with the potential for pro success in his future. Knile Davis tore up the SEC at the ripe old age of 18 in his sophomore year.
Big things were expected from Davis in 2011, including a run at a Heisman Trophy. Instead, he broke the same right ankle he fractured in high school and missed the entire season. He's ready to go full speed to open the 2012 campaign. Obviously, whether Davis can regain everything he had before the injury will greatly affect his 2013 (or 2014) NFL Draft stock, but what exactly did he have before the ankle gave way again?
Davis is built to last, at a shade under 6'0" and 225 pounds. One glance at Davis and you know those numbers are legit. He is a very sturdy back and not top-heavy or high-cut. In fact, the first things you notice when you look at Davis are his tree-trunk thighs:
Davis has a good initial burst for a big back, and he has a second gear. He doesn't have a fifth gear. Davis isn't going to pull away from anyone in the open field. He will get back up to the second gear relatively quickly after contact. Even though his legs are big, Davis is not a heavy-legged plodder. At times, he displays great feet for a big back, but at other times he's clumsy. Still, tight-roping the sideline like this for a touchdown is impressive at any size: