Tre Boston will be an NFL defensive back next season.
North Carolinas senior safety is on the watch lists for the Jim Thorpe Award and the Nagurski Trophy. He is 6-foot-1 and weighs 205 pounds.
Mike Davis is 5-foot-9 and weighs 215 pounds, but on Aug. 29, Davis outran Boston on the way to a 75-yard touchdown against the Tar Heels, changing a lot of minds about how fast such a wide man could move along the way.
Ive been surprised by the long runs, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. Mikes speed is something we didnt really know about until he got ahead of those North Carolina guys and nobody really caught him.
It caught South Carolinas radio announcing team by surprise, too.
Are you kidding me? play-by-play voice Todd Ellis called during the run. Mike Davis goes 75 yards. That Georgia fella can run! Good gracious!
I tell you Todd, I think that surprised the fans because they thought it would be like a 10 or 15-yard run and all of a sudden everybody woke up and said, Wait a minute, hes going to outrun the guy with the angle, color analyst Tommy Suggs said.
Its those angles that defenders have going to have to adjust going forward. Boston was the first victim of a perception problem that also was the undoing of Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, who chased Davis unsuccessfully during Davis 75-yard run against the Bulldogs. As Davis one of the Gamecocks strongest players and with a chest so wide you wonder if he has to turn sideways to walk through doorways gets into open space, defensive players cant imagine hed be that fast and take their angles of pursuit accordingly, only to be forced to adjust when its too late.
The angles they take are like straight at him, Spurrier said. Then all of sudden hes a yard or two ahead. Yeah, I would imagine they underestimate him a little bit.
The following two plays illustrate the issue. Watch North Carolinas No. 10 and Georgias No. 28 try to take direct paths at Davis only to have to veer off course when its too late.
Davis is averaging 9.4 yards per carry, more than any player in the SEC with more than 20 carries this season. His 132 yards per game rank fourth in the league, which is even more impressive considering he and Georgias Todd Gurley are the only SEC running backs who have played two games against BCS conference teams this season.
If they want to take bad angles, hopefully I can outrun them, Davis said.
He is the only player in the nation who has two runs of more than 70 yards this season and one of two players along with Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson -- with two plays of more than 70 yards. The explosive runs have added a dimension to the offense it didnt have under Marcus Lattimore, the schools all-time leader in touchdowns and the 2010 national freshman of the year. We havent had many long runs around here since Ive been here, Spurrier said. Marcus had a few 30, 40 yarders, but that was about it.
They both have their different styles, but I would definitely say Mike has brought a different style of running than Lattimore, offensive lineman Ronald Patrick said. I find myself after plays, after he breaks long runs, I find myself watching him. The way he plays is amazing. He has some wheels on him.
Wondering why Davis speed wasnt apparent in the recruiting process? Heres a long video of some of his best high school runs, and there arent a lot chances to show off his speed (Note: Mild language can be heard in the opening moments of the clip). Remember that Davis played in one of Georgias most competitive areas and classifications, so hes not playing against stiffs here.
LONGEST USC RUNS
In two games as a starter, Mike Davis has joined the list of Gamecocks longest runs.
|96||Steve Wadiak||G. Washington||10/27/50|
|89||Ben Garnto||Wake Forest||10/15/65|
|89||Brandon Bennett||E. Tenn. St.||10/5/91|
|88||Bobby Wallace||Middle Tenn.||11/18/06|
|80||Trevin Smith||E. Michigan||9/16/00|
|77||Heyward King||Wake Forest||11/30/57|