As a recruit coming out of Charlotte, North Carolina it is unlikely that Jordan Davis ever thought he would get the opportunity to play for an SEC team in his hometown. That makes Georgia’s opening matchup against Clemson on Sept. 4 in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium that much more special for Davis in particular.
Davis made the decision to return to Georgia in the spring, rather than opt for the NFL Draft. At 6-foot-6, 340 pounds, sporting the bold No. 99 on his jersey, Davis defines a “can’t-miss player.” Now he’ll be tasked as the anchor of Georgia’s defense in one of the most physical conferences in the country.
“It’s surreal, it’s crazy,” said Davis on playing in his hometown. “I’ve been home the last few weekends and just driving by the stadium, I’m like wow in a month and some change I’m gonna be playing in there. I used to ride by that stadium as a kid and be like “one day I want to play in that stadium.” So it is part one of this dream and I’m really excited. And I’m really excited that I have my team with me. I’m getting riled up right now.”
Davis added that he grew up just 10 minutes away from Bank of America Stadium. His wide smile was apparent as he talked about the opportunity of going home. On the field though, Davis will be expected to lead a front seven that should be stout against the run and bring consistent pressure in the pass-rushing department.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart emphasized Davis’ important role when he took the podium on Tuesday at SEC Media Days.
“He’s a big man. He’s been upwards of 370 [pounds] before,” said Smart. He’s been down around 330. We encourage him to be closer to 330. But he has been a big part of our defense. One of the number one reasons we’ve been able to stop the run and be one of the top defenses in the country at stopping the run is because of Jordan Davis.”
While Davis is confident in his guys up-front, he also spoke about the much-anticipated transfers of defensive backs Tykee Smith and Derion Kendrick, which had been a position of need for Georgia after losing much of their depth at the position to the draft and the transfer portal.
“They’re fitting in real good,” said Davis. “I mean nobody has animosity towards them. They came from different programs, they’re definitely experienced leaders at their old programs. You come here and they have to learn the book and everything that we do at Georgia. I think they’re getting adjusted, they are really vocal leaders. I think [Derion] Kendrick and Tykee [Smith], it feels like they’ve been here for a while. If it’s a smooth transition for them, it’s an even smoother transition for us.”
Smart said that Georgia does not know exactly where Kendrick and Smith will fit in because they did not go through spring practice. But nonetheless, they are expected to be “pieces of the puzzle” on a very talented defense.