The Clemson Insider gives a scouting report on every player on Clemson’s summer depth chart. We will break down what the player does best, what he needs to work on, how he compares to other former players at his position and where he fits on the Clemson roster.
Player name: J.D. Davis (6-2, 225)
Player position: Linebacker (weakside)
Years left of eligibility: 2 years
Current rank on depth chart: Second team
Player productivity so far: Davis has been a valuable contributor on special teams the last two seasons, primarily on the kickoff coverage unit. He has 17 tackles while playing in 23 career games. He is one of five Tigers to earn a National Championship as a second generation Clemson player. In 2016, he posted 11 tackles in 80 snaps, while appearing in all 15 games.
What player does best: Like his father, former Clemson All-American linebacker Jeff Davis, J.D. Davis has a knack for finding the football. He has very good instincts and is not afraid to put his head down and get into the mix.
What player needs to work on: Davis is fundamentally sound, which is no surprise given his background. Primarily he just needs to work on the basics and continue to get stronger during off-season conditioning.
Productivity of former Clemson players at the position (first year and last):
Spencer Shuey, 2013: In his one year playing the weakside, he was second on the team with 119 tackles. He had 7.5 tackles for loss with one sack and 4 passes broken up.
Tony Steward, 2014: In his only season as a starter, Steward was third on the team with 73 tackles and was tied for second with 10 tackles for loss. He had 3.5 sacks and broke up one pass.
B.J. Goodson, 2015: In his one year playing the weakside position, he led the Tigers with 160 tackles and was third on the team with 14 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He had 5.5 sacks and 3 passes broken up. He also had 2 interceptions.
Ben Boulware, 2016: In his one year playing the weakside position fulltime, he led the Tigers with 131 tackles. He was fourth on the squad with 11.5 tackles for loss. He had 4 sacks and 12 quarterback pressures. He also broke up two passes and had one interception. At the end of the year he won the Jack Lambert Award as the nation’s best linebacker and was an All-American.
What can you hope for? Davis continues to push for playing time. With him in the mix for playing, and right now sitting at second team weakside backer heading into fall camp, it pushes highly recruited guys like James Skalski and Shaq Smith to work even harder if they want to get on the field.
What is a realistic expectation? Davis stays as the No. 2 guy on the weak side and becomes a valuable reserve player for a Clemson defense that is loaded with talent at all three levels. He will also continue to play special teams where he has earned playing time in each of his first two seasons at Clemson.
What about the future? Davis will continue to push for more and more playing time because of his work ethic, his knowledge of the game and his fundamentals. He brings a lot to the table as a player, and him being on the field and pushing his teammates makes the whole linebacking corps better.
—Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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