5-star DE has Auburn up top, but Bama and UGA are right there

5-star Defensive End Marlon Davidson shows off the haul of 12 letters he received from UGA in one day. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

5-star Defensive End Marlon Davidson shows off the haul of 12 letters he received from UGA in one day. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

Marlon Davidson has told the AJC that if National Signing Day was this Wednesday, he’d go to Auburn.  The Greenville, Ala., defensive end would be a huge pull for defensive line coach Rodney Garner and first-year defensive coordinator Will Mushchamp.

“I’d go to Auburn with the stuff I know and the stuff I’ve been around,” Davidson said.

The 5-star prospect knows the depth chart at Auburn. He’s aware that Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson will not likely be at Auburn next year. He knows which defensive lineman have gotten into trouble and are no longer around. Davidson — who has a 23 on his ACT — also knows heralded incoming freshman defensive end Byron Cowart will not play the same position he does.

But National Signing Day is months away. That’s why the the 5-star also said his recruitment was “wide open” and there’s scant separation between Auburn, Alabama and UGA.

“If a school comes at me and shows me they need me and I’m the best player to fit into their system I will really consider them,” he said.

“That’s what schools don’t get about me. I’m not just fixing to say I am will go to Auburn and Alabama because I’m from Alabama. It’s a free country, right? I can go wherever I want. Believe that.”

Rivals pegged him as the nation’s No. 3 overall prospect for the Class of 2016, while the 247sports composite has Davidson as the nation’s  No. 24 player overall.

But count on the nearly 6-foot-5, 269-pounder’s recruitment to be unique.

Greenville (Ala.) 5-star Defensive End Marlon Davidson (Jeff Sentell/ AJC)

Greenville (Ala.) 5-star Defensive End Marlon Davidson (Jeff Sentell/ AJC)

If he does wind up at Auburn, that’s the team his older brother Kenneth Carter played for. The 2009 Alabama High School Lineman of the Year is still a part of the program. Kenneth serves as an analyst on the football support staff.

“That relationship with him at Auburn is not as important as people might think,” Davidson said. “I’d still go to Auburn even if my brother was working on the Alabama football staff,” Davidson said.

Greenville head coach Josh McClendon backed up that statement. He said Carter has told he him that he wouldn’t mind if his younger brother did his own thing if that’s what he wanted to do.

Davidson also really likes Florida State and Michigan. Davidson said he visited Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and UGA in July. He hopes to also visit Clemson, but it sounds right now that Michigan would also get an official visit.

“Clemson is coming at me very hard,” Davidson said. ‘They send me mail every day. Auburn is coming at me the hardest. They are chewing me up right now. Alabama and Georgia are coming at me the hardest after that. Bama and Georgia are probably tied for number two after that in terms of the schools which are recruiting me the hardest.”

Greenville (Ala.) 5-star Defensive End Marlon Davidson (Jeff Sentell/ AJC)

Greenville (Ala.) 5-star Defensive End Marlon Davidson (Jeff Sentell/ AJC)

Davidson visited UGA for Dawg Night last month. He also said UGA was definitely going to get one of his five official visits. He also plans to take extra courses in order to enroll early in January.

Expect a few twists and turns. Davidson said he can see himself going to both Alabama and UGA, along with Auburn.

Carter has taken his younger brother to Tuscaloosa for an unofficial visit. Let’s frame that up just right: A member of the Auburn football staff brought his little brother to Alabama on a visit.

“My brother said I should go wherever I want to go,” Davidson said. “He said do whatever is best for you. He said he can’t help me make my decision. It is on me as I’m the one who has to be at a school and be the one who grinds.  He said to go to the school that will give me the best work to be the best I can be.”

Davidson said the Tuscaloosa visit was awkward.

“It was weird because I think he was getting a different vibe being at Alabama,” Davidson said. “If it is weird, then they will need to deal with it. I guess if Alabama wants me, they will have to deal with it.”

UGA’s shot is built around a relationship established when Carter played at Auburn. His position coach at that time was current UGA defensive line coach Tracy Rocker.

Davidson received 12 postcard-sized letters from UGA on the same day last week. What’s unique about that was that five of those were addressed to Carter. The Bulldogs were working his inner circle, too.

“Coach Rocker at Georgia gives them a better shot than it just being a big school like Georgia recruiting me,” Marlon Davidson said. “He has opened my eyes to Georgia.”

Davidson said UGA made him feel like a priority at Dawg Night. He felt with all the great players in Georgia that an Alabama kid wouldn’t be on their minds.

“I’m glad that Georgia has the time to look over here and offer me and take the time to recruit me even though I am in Alabama.”

When it comes to Alabama, Davidson said his brother will support him to a point.

“He said if I am playing for Alabama he will be there,” Davidson said. “But he won’t wear the colors. He said that nobody will ever get him to wear Alabama’s colors. He said he would just be 100 percent real with me. He said if I’m at Alabama and they are playing Auburn, (he) will be there in Auburn stuff. ”

Davidson wants to stand up off the edge at times and rush the passer. His former high school coach, Billy Gresham at Carver-Montgomery, recalls a screen pass where he pressured the passer and then recovered on the play to tackle the back for a two-yard gain.

The 269-pounder did that in a region in which the backs can put their foot down and go.

“Getting down in a stance all the time gets boring,” Davidson said. “Let me stand up some. Let me not too comfortable or anybody else get too comfortable seeing me line up at the same spot all the time.”

Davidson was just a 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive end as a freshman in 2012. He just turned 17 back in May. He’s probably still got some more growing to do.

He plans to study physical education and aspires to be a football coach one day.

Listen to what Davidson has to say about Auburn, Alabama, UGA, Florida State and Michigan in this AJC.com video below:


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.

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