The nation's top-ranked outside linebacker prospect for the 2012 recruiting cycle, Noor Davis, has decided that he knows where he wants to go to school. Davis, from Oxford, Fla./The Villages Charter School, intends to make his decision known at a local country club early Friday afternoon. This is a bit of a surprise, considering Davis was expected to wait until after the Under Armour All-American Game to announce his intentions. You may recall that Davis was featured in our recent 2012 recruiting preview, and here's what we said about him then:
Noor Davis is both extremely athletic, and represents a position of great need for Florida. After missing on all of the elite LB prospects in the 2011 cycle, it's very important that Florida pulls in some top talent at the position in 2012. Davis would be a great way to begin doing that. Davis is rangy, and does well rushing the passer, and dropping into coverage. He could certainly add more weight on his 6'4" frame, while still maintaining his exceptional athleticism. Davis is not your average elite football prospect, sporting a 4.3 GPA. Davis is looking at schools just as much for their academics as their football programs.
Justin Wells at 247sports.com, has a great write up on the Friday announcement for Davis. It looks like this battle will come down to Florida and Notre Dame, though some believe that Stanford could come into play as well. Davis had initially said that he would whittle his list down to five, after his West Coast trip planned for this summer.
Instead, he whittled it yesterday, and as assumed, both Florida and Notre Dame made the cut. The other three schools in the mix are Alabama, Stanford, and USC. This quote from Davis, via the 247sports.com story on Davis, describes why he likes Florida, and is considering being a Gator:
"The University of Florida has outstanding academic programs and great athletics," he said. "They have an awesome business school and communications department. Coach Muschamp said that I could fit in an impactful way playing the SAM linebacker spot. In the 3-4 I would be down on the line and in the 4-3 I would be back in a stack position. They feel that I can do a lot of things off the edge as a pass rusher, but also as a flat coverage guy. I can do a lot of different things that can throw an offense off. They play in the SEC which is a great conference. Florida is an outstanding school and it is very close to where I live. The place where I live is pretty big Gator Country and all of my friends and neighbors are fans. My parents and especially my little brother could be a part of my college experience."
This all sounds really great, and if Davis decides that family being close by is of the utmost importance, this could definitely go Florida's way. At this point, however, you probably have to consider Notre Dame the presumptive favorite, though not by much. Davis reportedly fell in love with Notre Dame on his visit, and was really quite impressed by both the history of their program, and the religious tone of the University at large.
Davis has repeatedly emphasized how important academics are to him, and said that they will play a pivotal role in his decision. Besides wondering how Alabama makes the cut with those other four academically, it's probably worth noting that Davis said this: (again via 24/7)
"The academics are the most important thing, in terms of the me choosing a college," he told GatorBait last week. "Business is so competitive now, that it's your degree which is important. College isn't a 4-5 year decision – it's a 40-50 year decision. It's something that's going to help me for the rest of my life."
That last line about the "40-50 year decision" is what I'm keying in on. Irishenvy.com forums seem to share the belief that the "40-50 year decision" line is important, because it's a line that Notre Dame coaches have used with recruits for years. Davis using that line specifically, tells me that he's probably bound for South Bend. That being said, I'm still holding out hope, and you should too.
Look for Alligator Army's scouting report on Noor Davis to be posted later in the day. In addition to the video below, it should provide you with an excellent idea, of what kind of player Davis is.
Noor Davis #2 OLB Official Jr Highlights 2010 The Villages HS, Florida (via TheTenacious2)