Motivated Davis shines at Pro Day
Despite earning All-America accolades from a handful of organizations during the 2017 campaign, Utah State cornerback Jalen Davis did not receive an invitation to the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.
It’s fair to say the snub gave Davis ample motivation to perform well at USU’s annual Pro Day, which was held Wednesday morning at two locations — the ICON Sports Performance Center and the Stan Laub Indoor Training Center.
“I feel like I’ve had that (extra) motivation my whole life,” Davis said following Pro Day. “You know, my whole life I’ve been thrown under the bus, just doubted my whole life, so I feel like it’s just a trend. So, it just fuels me up even more whenever that happens.”
Davis was one of 12 former Aggies who showcased their skills in front of a large contingent of NFL scouts. Former Logan High standout Luke Falk, a record-setting quarterback at Washington State, also competed at USU’s Pro Day. Scouts from every NFL team except the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys were on hand for the event.
Based on Wednesday’s results, Davis stacked up favorably against the cornerbacks who were invited to the NFL combine. For starters, only four corners at the combine posted a faster 40-yard dash time than 4.40 seconds. USU’s all-time leader in passes broken up was timed in the 4.40-4.43 range. All times and distances at Pro Day are unofficial.
“You know, I feel good about that,” said Davis, who was the only athlete to complete the 40 in less than 4.5 at USU’s Pro Day. “People thought I wasn’t that fast, so I just had to come out here and show them that I can run.”
The La Mesa, California, native soared to an impressive 36-inch mark in the vertical jump, which would have put him in the top third among all corners at the combine. Davis, who recorded 11 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press, also finished with a mark of 10-0 in the broad jump.
Davis was edged in the vertical jump by fellow former Aggie corner Wesley Bailey, who impressed with a 38-0. Bailey’s mark of 10-7 in the broad jump would have placed him fourth among corners at the combine. Like Davis, Bailey shined in multiple tests and drills on Wednesday.
“It went good,” said the 5-foot-10 Davis, whose only FBS scholarship offer was from USU, where he ended up being a four-year starter. “Everybody just came out here and tried to put their best foot forward, just show all the scouts and show themselves what they could do and be the best they could be out here today.”
Davis, who had one-on-one interviews with a couple of NFL scouts at the conclusion of the event, tweaked his hamstring earlier in the day but was still able to participate in positional drills.
Other former Aggies who participated in Pro Day were Austin Albrecht (offensive lineman), Jaren Colston-Green (wide receiver), Damion Hobbs (tight end), Alex Huerta (linebacker), LaJuan Hunt (running back), Dallin Leavitt (safety), Tonny Lindsey Jr. (RB), Kent Myers (QB), Emmett Odegard (long snapper) and Braelon Roberts (WR).
Leavitt had a solid day as he was among the top performers in the bench press, 40, broad jump and vertical leap. Leavitt would have ranked seventh among all safeties at the combine with his 18 bench press reps, which was tops among all former USU players. Huerta, a Mountain Crest product, tied with Lindsey Jr. for second with 16.
“I was actually kind of frustrated with my number, to be honest,” Leavitt said. “I thought I did more (reps) than I did but, like I said before, you’re not going to do perfect on every drill.”
Leavitt posted the second-best mark in the broad jump (10-2) and third-best mark in the vertical jump (34-5). Additionally, the BYU transfer clocked in at 4.52 in the 40. Roberts raced his way to a pair of 4.50s.
“It’s something that we dream about as a little kid, and to have this opportunity is a huge blessing, and you try to act like it is just a normal day, but you’re lying to yourself if it is,” Leavitt said. “There are a lot of people watching, and you’re trying to make impressions on a lot of teams.”
Leavitt credited Dave Scholz, USU’s head strength and conditioning coach, and his staff for the positive results produced at Pro Day. Scholz and his staff have spent the past two weeks prepping the athletes with what Leavitt called “a mock Pro Day” type of setting.
“He’d taper things off, and we wouldn’t run full 40s all the time, but he just tried to get us to where this day just becomes routine, and that’s what it felt like today,” Leavitt said. “It just felt like another day, and I can attribute that to coach Dave.”
Other noteworthy performances were turned in by Hobbs in the vertical jump (33-5), Lindsey Jr. in the vertical jump (34-0) and Myers in the 40 (4.56).
In addition to competing in a series of tests and drills, the athletes all had their height, weight and wing span measured.
The NFL Draft will take place from April 26-28. Davis has a legitimate chance of getting picked. Falk will likely have his name called on Day 1 of 2 of the draft.
The Aggies will conduct their third scrimmage of spring camp Thursday at approximately 3:15 p.m. at Maverik Stadium. Spring camp will conclude next Saturday with the annual Blue vs. White Game, which will start at 2 p.m.
Thursday’s scrimmage will feature roughly 100 plays.
“(Thursday’s) scrimmage is the second-biggest test of the spring,” USU head coach Matt Wells said in a press release. “As coaches, we want to continue to evaluate some of the competition battles between the defensive backs and the running backs. We also need some other receivers to step up to show us what they can do this fall. If a player is all-Mountain West, I need him to play like he’s all-Mountain West (Thursday).”