When your dad was First-Team All-American, was part of a national championship and played six years in the NFL, the shadow is long and can swallow you up if you let it.
But J.D. Davis has come out of his father’s shadow at Clemson and has had a stellar career in his own right for the Tigers. Of course Davis’ father is All-American linebacker Jeff Davis, who guided the Tigers to their first national championship in 1981.
The elder Davis, who now is an assistant athletic director for player relations on Dabo Swinney’s staff, was a senior when he became an All-American at Clemson. He led the Tigers that year with 175 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. He also broke up six passes that year.
He was later drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1982 NFL Draft and played six seasons in the NFL.
But J.D. Davis is on his own course. He and his twin brother, Judah, have already been a part of a national championship team and they’re hoping to win another this season. J.D. Davis has also put himself in position to start this year after a good spring while playing the weakside linebacker spot.
Davis heads into fall camp, which begins on Aug. 2, as the starter at the WILL position, ahead of James Skalski and Shaq Smith on the depth chart.
Last year, Davis came on at the end of the regular season after filling in for regular starters Kendall Joseph and Tre Lamar, who both suffered injuries. Overall, the senior started five games and played in all 14.
Davis finished the season with 55 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and a sack. His best game came against Florida State when he started for Joseph at weakside linebacker.
He had a team-high eight tackles against the Seminoles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Davis also had a game-tying seven starts against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. He was named the Tigers’ co-defensive MVP with Joseph after the game.
Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders. TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship. Order your copy today!