Freshman LB Jarrad Davis next man up for Gators

By Adam Silverstein
November 14, 2013

Thomas Edison once said that opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

With head coach Will Muschamp often referring to the Florida Gators as a blue-collar football program, one that expects its players to bring their lunch pails to practice each day, perhaps no player is a better representative of Edison’s ideal and Muschamp’s vision than freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis.

A three-star prospect out of Kingsland, GA, Davis was considered an afterthought in Florida’s 2013 recruiting class that included three other top-tier linebacker talents including five-star Alex Anzalone and four-stars Daniel McMillian and Matt Rolin.

Yet it is Davis who has impressed the coaching staff and his teammates, played exceedingly well on special teams and is scheduled to fill in for Antonio Morrison in the starting lineup after the sophomore tore his meniscus on Saturday and was declared out for the season.

“When you do well with the role you get, your role increases,” defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said of Davis on Wednesday.

“Jarrad shows up a bunch. Whether it’s on special teams or the limited snaps he’s in on defense, he shows up. He’s about all the right things. He practices and works really hard, prepares himself well. He’s going to get more opportunities and we’re going to keep playing him more and more as we go.”


Morrison’s offseason antics made him a lightning rod for the Gators heading into the season. Those with visions of his monster hit on Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel last year expected a dominant sophomore campaign. Unfortunately for Florida and Morrison, he has been underwhelming overall, missing tackles and often being out of position on certain plays.

The Gators will not improve with a team leader out of the starting lineup – Morrison was also responsible for many of the defensive calls and has a great understanding of the defense according to Durkin – but his injury does provide an opportunity for an up-and-coming player to make an impact and perhaps earn a permanent role on the first string.

“He’s a guy that’s very mature,” Durkin added about Davis. “He just handles himself in a way that you would not, if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t think he was a freshman. That’s in meeting rooms, off the field, on the field. He prepares really hard, and he’s a very talented player, too. We’re very pleased with where he’s at, obviously, and he’s going to continue to play more and more.”

The coaching staff appreciates Davis’s efforts so much that it went so far as to name him a captain ahead of the Missouri game, making him the first UF true freshman to receive that honor since at least 1998.

Florida has little left to play for outside of pride this season as it will take an upset of monumental proportions to leave the Gators with a bowl-eligible 6-6 record at year’s end. But developing young players and turning them into dependable starters is undoubtedly a goal over the next month.

“I think [Davis is] going to be a guy, someone we’ll build [on] around here,” said Durkin.

19 Comments

  1. gatorboi352 says:

    Who’s the next man up for Tyler Murphy? Or is Will just going to trot out a 70-80% healthy Tyler over a 100% healthy Skyler?

    • Wrote that in the Pease post yesterday.

      • gatorboi352 says:

        Yeah I saw… It was more a facetious rhetorical question than anything else; implying that Muschamp would go with a hurt Murphy over a healthy Skyler because he’s Will Muschamp.

        • Alex says:

          I think that’s probably more due to the fact that Skyler was all over the map in practice and is an emergency-only option. Read some of the recaps from Fall practice – kid is not ready. I’m sure he’s improved some over the year, but he’s being protected for a reason.

          • gatorboi352 says:

            “kid is not ready.”

            Again, and I’m going to sound like a broken record on this site, that is a coaching problem. Whether it’s on the recruiting aspect of Skyler, or the inability to get him “ready” that once again falls under the blame umbrella of the coaching staff.

  2. Gatoralum88 says:

    Hey, Adam. I’m dying to read your take on Foley’s “NOT the quote-unquote dreaded ‘vote of confidence'”. Hurry up and finish writing it! I need a good, early afternoon laugh. 🙂

  3. Gatoralum88 says:

    Hmmm, shades of Pat Haden?

  4. Fed Up says:

    And we’re down to pumping up three star athletes at a position we used to dominate. SMH

  5. Keith says:

    That last sentence sounds as if DJ is leaving

  6. Uf_84 says:

    I was at the swamp last Saturday watching a team of 1, 2, and a few 3 star players hand our 3, 4, and 5 star players their ass. I wouldn’t care how many stars a kid’s got next to his name as long as he can play and also stay out of trouble off the field. Davis sounds like that kind of kid and I hope he plays so well that’s he keeps Morrison’s job. We’ve had enough 4 and 5 star flops and troublemakers around here to write a book just listing their names.
    As for Mustchoke, I personally think we should cut our losses, fire him now, and take the recruiting hit this year. You’ve got to be able to score to win consistently and Mustchoke just can’t seem to grasp that theory. If Foley truly does insist on keeping him, Pease needs to be let go, Kerwin Bell needs to be hired as OC, and Mustchoke needs to stay the hell out of his way and let him run the offence. The only imput Mustchoke needs to have on offence is to let Kerwin know whether we punt or go for it on forth down. This senario might give us a small chance to turn things around if Mustchoke stays.
    For those who think KB wouldn’t be a good hire, keep in mind that there aren’t many coaches out there who are going to leave a stable job to come work for a lame duck coach. Kerwin is a Gator and if Mustchoke had any sence he would have hired him instead of Pease when he interviewed him two years ago. Bell’s offences have lit up scoreboards the entire time he has been at JU, and he’s done that using non schlorship players.

    • SWFL Joe says:

      I seem to remember that Bell wanted complete control of the offense and that was what kept him from getting the job. Unless Muschamp has changed his mind I don’t think KB coming here is happening. Most likely scenario is Pease is canned, Joker gets promoted to OC/WR and Leak is promoted from GA to QB coach. Maintains continuity on the staff for in coming recruits and gives the fans a firing that they are demanding.

      • Not sure where you heard that, but I don’t think it is accurate to say he wanted MORE control over an offense than any other offensive coordinator (including Pease) would normally get. Pease was Muschamp’s No. 1 option. Brian White was No. 2.

      • uf_84 says:

        If Mustchoke doesn’t give complete control to whoever the new OC will be then we might as well keep Pease and let everyone get fired next year. You’re probably right about him not wanting Bell. His offense at JU this year is averaging 180 yds. rushing, 332 yds. passing, and 45 points per game. I’m sure Mustchoke wouldn’t be insterested in having those kind of offensesive numbers.

  7. SW FL Joe says:

    Your right Adam. I mis remembered. Alligator Army said Bell was offered QB coach but he wanted OC.

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