Recruiting pages offers impressive snapshots of elite prospects these days. Heights. Weights. Stars. Offers.
Yet they are no substitute for an honest conversation with a 17-year kid with maybe too much spotlight heaped onto strapping but maturing shoulders. Archer rising senior Kyle Davis told the AJC on Friday he’s been laying low since a late May de-commitment from South Carolina. He kept that vow to play in Columbia for some 10 months.
“I’ve just been trying to stay out of the way of everything,” Davis said. “Not trying to get too involved with the media.”
The nation’s fifth-ranked receiver regrets that commitment now. Chalk it up to the same feeling as wooing the prettiest girl in Columbia and feeling good about being her boyfriend. That’s until seeing what the prettiest girls in all of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee look like.
That’s a high school metaphor, but that’s the best way Davis explains how he feels. He gave his word to a school and had to come off of it. He understands what teammate EJ Price is going through now after he recently de-commited from Georgia.
“My deal was I was young, man,” Davis said. “I was excited about Columbia. I loved the campus and felt like ‘I want to go here’ but then I started going around and getting more offers and noticed every place was real nice. It got hard. I hated to do that, but I had to. I wasn’t ready to make that commitment when I did.”
Analysts peg him a ‘tweener. He’s 6 feet, 3 inches and about 210 pounds. Chiseled but not fast enough to be a receiver, they say. Not big enough to be a tight end, they say. So he runs ladders every day to improve his feet. He also suffers from asthma.
“Its bad,” he says.
So he runs every day to expand his lungs and bronchial tubes. Those are the human elements to a young man power programs like Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee desperately want to sign to be able to take advantage of his early enrollment status this December.
He dropped an important pass in the state championship game last December. The big-time player did not make the big-time play. So a picture of that moment hangs on his wall. He sees it every day.
“Motivation,” he says. “Fuel. I need it. Guys my age with a lot of offers need something to drive them.”
Davis said Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina are recruiting him the hardest now. He will play receiver in college. Talk about tight end and he’ll change the channel. He’s looking for a school with a favorable depth chart because he wants to start as a freshman.
He plans to make The Opening all-star combine at Nike headquarters in Oregon in early July. He’s also planning to go to UGA’s “Dawg Night” prospect camp on July 18. He wants to go to Knoxville again this summer, too.
UGA fans might find it interesting that perhaps the most important recruiting information of every day is passed along in a group text message among Peach State 2016 blue chips. Davis is part of it. Mecole Hardman, Jr., Elijah Holyfield and Julian Rochester, too. Price is also thankful for unlimited text messages on his rate plan.
“We text each other all the time every day,” Davis said. “We are all real close. It goes out every day. A lot. More than a hundred text messages every day. At least. Maybe even three hundred. Too many. We talk about all the dumb stuff we do. Its a relationship type thing between all of us. We all plan on going to the same school. So we will see about that.”
How fast does recruiting news travel these days? Price de-committed on Thursday night. Davis didn’t know that until he was warming up Friday before a 9:30 a.m. start to Archer’s first Corky Kell 7-on-7 game at Blessed Trinity. Those guys are on the same team.
What does he hope every school that is recruiting him understands about him?
“I hope they know how thankful I am for this opportunity,” he said. “If I didn’t have the opportunity to play football I don’t know what I would be doing with my life to be honest. I’m not a cocky kid at all. I try to stay humble. I will come up and talk to anybody. If I see somebody I don’t know at lunch, then I’ll go talk to them. I love everybody.”
If you’re a fan of those schools that are really on him, he hopes you can sit back and let him make up his mind. It may be your team, but it is his future.
“People don’t understand how stressful this recruiting stuff is,” Davis said. “Everyone says it is a blessing and it is. But it can be a curse as well because it takes up so much of your time. You get overwhelmed with all the coaches and the recruiting reporters calling you. It is my blessing and my curse, but I am still thankful for all of it.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.