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Utah State football: Jalen Davis yearns to be regarded as one of the best

Published April 7, 2017 12:07 pm

USU football notes • Senior yearns to make All-Mountain West.
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Logan • Utah State cornerback Jalen Davis, a three-year starter from La Mesa, Calif., has been one of the team's best and most consistent performers on either side of the ball during his collegiate career. Next season, he'll be aiming for the spoils that typically go with that sort of production.

Soft-spoken and one of the smaller players on the field at most times, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Davis wasn't heavily recruited coming out of high school because of his size. He believes many schools overlooked him because they mistakenly thought he was even smaller.

Davis had just three Division I scholarship offers when he knew in his head and his heart he could compete at the highest level. He hasn't forgotten. That has served as a chip on his shoulder for his first three college seasons.

"I think I've got a bigger chip on my shoulder [now] too because I wasn't voted All-Mountain West once since I've been here," Davis said Thursday following the team's final practice before its annual Blue-White spring game. "That's going to push me and drive me way more this season."

During last week's scrimmage, the Aggies coaching staff decided to hold him out for all but the first few series in order to keep him healthy and also to take a look at some younger players. Davis tried lobbying for more playing time. Davis relishes the one-on-one corner versus receiver battles, even in practice. Actually, he thirsts for any form of individual competition.

"Whenever I get a chance to line up against somebody, I'm trying to win no matter what," Davis said. "No matter what I'm playing — playing golf, ping pong — I'm competitive. I want to win everything."

He recalled a heated video game exchange back home with his cousin that resulted in the controllers flying and a fight. When asked if he was recounting an event from his childhood, Davis shook his head and replied, "Nah, over break" referring to the university's spring break. Oh, and he said he eventually won that game.

Davis clearly has a sharp edge he brandishes whenever he competes. It may never be sharper than going into his senior season. His goal is to be a first-team All-Mountain West selection if not an All-American his senior season.

The first true freshman cornerback to start a season opener in program history, he had 61 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass breakups in his first year with the Aggies. The website 247Sports named him to its Freshman All-American team in 2014. He made honorable mention All-Mountain West as well as Phil Steele All-Mountain West team in 2015.

Last season, he missed two games with an injury and still led the team with seven pass breakups while also recording 37 tackles (two sacks) and one interception. However, he got ignored when it came to postseason accolades.

"I think the the next step is just more numbers, more picks because what all you media people want to look at when you pick All-Mountain West," Aggies coach Matt Wells said of Davis. "You want to see numbers.

"He's been a very, very solid and consistent player in terms of longevity — last year was the first time really he'd missed any time — durability, consistency in terms of his assignments and very, very few busts. He just hasn't had a high number of interceptions, and that's what will get him noticed a lot from the media."

Blue vs White

The Aggies spring game will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday in Maverik Stadium. It will mark the end of the spring season for the Aggies.

"First of all, every coach in the country would like to come out with no injuries," Wells said. "That's he first thing. You'd like to see an efficient offense run with pace. I'd like to see turnovers on defense. Those are the two biggest things. The efficiency [and] an increase in production in run game from the last scrimmage, and then on defense we've been focusing on the pass rush and creating turnovers."


Twitter: @LWorthySports






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