The Desert Ridge Jaguars are one of the most physical and scrappy teams that division I has to offer. A large reason for their is because of the players they start in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
At the defensive tackle position, there are few better in Arizona than Jag senior D.J. Davison. While in the midst of a playoff run, Davidson has seen his recruitment heat up adding offers from New Mexico State and South Dakota State with more FBS level schools rumored to be looming. He had been offered already by Northern Arizona and Montana. This is not a result of any improved play because he has been dominant all season, it is because of a refocus off the field and in the classroom.
“It’s just my grades and the SAT and ACT,” Davidson told Sports360AZ. “I went to summer school, I’ve corrected my GPA, I did all of that stuff to be eligible.”
“He worked really hard in the summer to get his grades up,” mentioned Desert Ridge head coach Jeremy Hathcock. “He got a couple A’s and now that he is back on track he’s got all B’s and above, people are starting to jump to him. When you are 6-4, 310 and you run like a linebacker, how do you not want that kid.”
For Davidson, the refocus on his education is not just so he could continue to play football at the next level. It is also to accomplish something in his family that no one else has.
“I’ve put in so much work just to make it some college, any college, as long as I can get my education paid for,” Davidson explained. “I’ll be the first one in my family to get their education free and that’s just an accomplishment right there.”
On the field, Davidson’s size speaks for itself and what he has put on film for his senior season is jaw dropping. But there are intangibles for what makes Davidson so dominant that only a coach could notice.
“When they look at his size and they see him plug it but they don’t realize how violent his first step is,” explained Hathcock. “When you have a violent first step, there is not much you can do to game plan for that. People have been chop-blocking him, hitting him high, hitting him low and it just doesn’t work. Thankfully he’s been staying pretty healthy.”
Up next is top seeded and defending state champion Chandler. A team the Jaguars battled earlier in the season and will look to pull the upset for their first state championship appearance since 2010.