Texas football offers uber-underrated 2023 DL Jonathan Davis

The newest offer to be handed out for the 2023 Texas football recruiting class came as a bit of a surprise over the weekend. Defensive line coach Bo Davis dug really deep to find his latest DL target in the 2023 class with the unranked and largely under-the-radar 6-foot-5 and 305-pound Lawrence County (MS) defensive lineman Jonathan Davis.

On Jan. 21, Davis announced via a tweet that he received a Texas offer. This is only the second FBS program to offer Davis. The other FBS school that’s offered him thus far is the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, which came his way on Jan. 11.

There are a handful of other collegiate offers that Davis holds, mostly from non-Division I schools and JUCOs.

An interview that Gerry Hamilton of Inside Texas (paid content) conducted with Davis over the weekend provides the intel that he was in Conway, SC, last weekend for an official visit to Coastal Carolina when he received the Texas offer.

Bo Davis and Texas football find potential hidden gem in new 2023 DL offer Jonathan Davis

And it sounds like Texas is looking to get Davis to campus for an official visit in the near future. He mentioned that the Texas DL coach Davis is scheduled to be at Lawrence County High School for a visit later this week.

If an official visit is booked with Davis, it looks like that will come on the weekend of Jan. 27.

Profile of Mississippi DL Jonathan Davis

This IT interview also provides some insight into this late-cycle offer for the Longhorns. Davis apparently hit a growth spurt in the last year or so where he grew two or three inches and put on around 50 more pounds.

That growth spurt, combined with some of the visible standout physical traits that show up on film for Davis looks to be what caught the attention of Texas’ DL coach. From what we can see from the film that’s out there for Davis, he has a very strong base and is able to get a ton of drive off the line of scrimmage.

Davis mostly played as a defensive end that switched between the three-technique and then essentially played as a stand-up edge rusher at Lawrence County. It looks like Davis’ growth spurt encouraged him to play more three-technique as a true defensive lineman during his senior season, though.

From what we can see on film, Davis has a relentless drive into the backfield. His strength and non-stop motor allow him to get effective pressure up the middle when lined up in the three-technique. But he still has enough quickness and foot speed to get off blocks when lined up on the outside as a defensive end or stand-up edge rusher.

The year-over-year statistical improvement for Davis goes to show how he was able to progress as a pass rusher in the last couple of seasons. According to Maxpreps, Davis registered a career-best 7.5 sacks and one forced fumble last fall.

And here’s a look at the year-over-year improvement in Davis’ numbers at Lawrence County.

  • 2020: 2 tackles, 1 sack
  • 2021: 14 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 blocked field goal
  • 2022: 19 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Another plus for Davis could be that he could be a special teams anchor for the field goal coverage unit. He registered a field goal block during his junior season in high school and looks like he took a good number of reps with that unit.

Where Davis could still use some improvement from what we can see on film has to do mostly with his fundamental technique as a defensive lineman and his change of direction. He could use some refinement in terms of his pad-level technique off the line of scrimmage and his footwork.

There are certain plays where it looks like Davis has the tendency to overpursue the ball carrier. Working on his approach and his speed when he changes directions will help with that, though.

All in all, Davis looks like a low-risk high-reward offer that is worth taking a flier out on for the Longhorns.

What this offer means for Texas

This type of late-cycle offer is usually indicative of a team not being settled with the depth situation in a certain position room. Texas was expected to bolster the defensive line depth in some form or fashion this offseason, whether it was via the trail with high school recruits or the NCAA Transfer Portal.

But the portal hasn’t surfaced many immediate impact defensive linemen that could help the Longhorns in 2023. Thus, I would imagine that Davis is the type of late-cycle addition to the defensive line that the Texas defensive staff could use to add some young depth.

It will also be interesting to see if more FBS offers start rolling in for Davis after he was offered by Texas and Coastal Carolina in the last couple of weeks. Maybe these are the only two FBS programs that are interested in what he brings to the table, or maybe his recruitment is about to blow up a good bit.

We’ll probably get an answer to that question in a week or two, especially if Davis is scheduled for an official visit to Austin next weekend.

Texas currently has commitments from 24 high school recruits in the 2023 class, all of which signed on the dotted line during the Early Signing Period last month. In total, there are 28 signees in the Longhorns 2023 class at the moment if you include portal commits.