Devontae Davis will get a preview of what it will be like to be a South Carolina Gamecock starting next week.
The former Silver Bluff High standout and defensive end arrives on campus Tuesday just in time for the Gamecocks’ bowl practices, which begin Monday. Davis plans to take part in the practices after signing his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday, he told The State.
USC has nine practices before playing Virginia in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 29.
“I’m excited and waiting for this moment for a long time,” Davis said Friday. “I can’t wait until I see how it goes. I’m going to be going out, work hard and do my best.”
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Davis, who played at Georgia Military College, has to go through an acclimation period before suiting up, but USC coach Will Muschamp thinks it is beneficial for new players who get to be on campus for bowl practices.
“They have to go through that as far as two helmets practices, two shells practices and then a full pads practice,” Muschamp said. “But they can be a part of meetings, which I think is important. They can be part of the tempo of practice, which I think is really good. So there is a benefit from it.”
In order to participate in the on-campus bowl practices, incoming student-athletes must:
▪ be completely finished with high school/junior college;
▪ be accepted into USC as a student; and
▪ not be involved in any sort of postseason all-star game.
Current Gamecocks defensive linemen M.J. Webb and Tyreek Johnson took a similar route and practiced with the Gamecocks ahead of their bowl games the last two seasons. Players in those situations usually don’t travel to the bowl game and only work out with USC while the team is in Columbia.
Davis said he will use the bowl practices to help get adjusted to USC’s defensive scheme. At Georgia Military, he played more inside in the GMC’s odd-man front but will likely be at defensive end for the Gamecocks’ even-man line.
“Just want to get better, meet the players and get the plays down,” Davis said. “It is a different scheme than I’m used to, but I want to learn the position and be ready to go for the spring.”
Rivals ranks Davis as a three-start prospect and the No. 29-ranked junior college player in the country. This season he had 30 tackles, four sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
Davis announced for USC in January and stayed committed despite Florida showing interest. He grew up a Gamecock fan and went to many games growing up in Aiken.
Davis took his official visit last weekend and was hosted by Jabari Ellis, who played with him at Georgia Military College.
“They stuck with me from high school,” Davis said of South Carolina. “Lot of schools went different ways when I went to junior college, but I always knew they were there and was in my corner. Coach (Lance) Thompson and Muschamp and talked to me almost every day and I felt the bond and love.”