After official visit, Metter DE T.J. Davis could join Jackets’ ranks

Metter High defensive end T.J. Davis was named the athlete of the year for Region 2-AA in the 2019 season. (Courtesy T.J. Davis)

Metter High defensive end T.J. Davis was named the athlete of the year for Region 2-AA in the 2019 season. (Courtesy T.J. Davis)

Metter High defensive end T.J. Davis may not have the attention of many power-conference coaches, but Georgia Tech’s interest in him is high, and the feeling is mutual. Davis was one of three prospects to take official visits to Tech this weekend.

“I liked it all,” Davis said Sunday afternoon. “A lot of tradition and culture. Great people, great football players and the coaches are starting something special there.”

Davis was joined on the official-visit weekend by defensive lineman signee Emmanuel Johnson from North Charleston, S.C., and another prospect, Mount Zion High offensive tackle Phillip Wilder, who has reported offers from Texas, Maryland and South Florida.

Davis said he'll wait until signing day Feb. 5, to make his announcement on his decision. Davis said he'll take an official visit to Georgia next weekend. But Tech will be difficult to beat. He was enthusiastic about the visit and said that coaches projected him as a "5 technique" defensive end, lining up across from the offensive tackle. It is the position he played at Metter. He had what he called "a great talk" with coach Geoff Collins.

Asked if he could see himself at Tech, Davis’ answer was succinct: “Yes, sir.”

A highlight of the visit was a dinner for the prospects and their families at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“It was just cool,” he said. “We were the only people there, just checking out the whole thing.”

It was, of course, brought to Davis’ attention that Tech will begin a five-game series at MBS this fall against Notre Dame, an opportunity he described as “awesome.”

Dinner wasn’t bad, either — steak, macaroni and a feast of desserts.

“Cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, cupcakes, chocolate cake,” Davis reported.

That Davis was in this position to be plied with desserts at the table of Collins is something of an upset. As late as this fall, Davis’ offers were strictly from “Group of Five” schools such as Georgia Southern, Central Michigan and Kent State.

Attention may have been low because Metter is a smaller-classification school (Class 2A) that is out of the way (off I-16 between Macon and Savannah) and the team had not been highly competitive until this year, when the Tigers won their region and reached the third round of the state playoffs. Last summer, he attended one camp, at Mercer, which produced an offer from Central Michigan.

But his highlight videos, in which he plays both defensive end and tight end, show explosiveness off the snap and speed off the edge. Davis was named the Region 2-AA athlete of the year for his play. He is listed at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds and has a thick frame. Davis said he gained 15 pounds this season, starting out at 215.

He is a three-star prospect by 247 Sports Composite. 247 Sports only recently gave him a star rating.

Tech coaches reached out to him in December just before the “dead period” began Dec. 16, limiting contact.

“They said they really liked me and they wanted to get a chance to recruit me and evaluate me,” Davis said.

The contact came as a surprise. Davis said that he had been invited to Tech’s spring game, but couldn’t make it, and then didn’t hear anything after that.

“After the season, I just waited, and they finally started texting me again,” Davis said.

Davis communicated mostly with cornerbacks coach Jeff Popovich, Davis’ principal recruiter. And, this past Wednesday, on a FaceTime conversation with Popovich and defensive ends coach Marco Coleman, he was offered a scholarship.

“I was excited,” Davis said.

Davis said he’ll make his announcement on the first of the signing period. The choices will be different than they would have been a little more than a month ago. Arizona and Illinois are also interested, he said.

Davis didn’t make a commitment and sign in the early period in part because “I was waiting to see what’s all out there,” he said. “And I’m kind of glad I waited.”

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