Physically, Davis is an elite talent, with plus coordination, fluidity as a runner, change of direction skills, and impressive lateral agility for a back his size. His size/speed combo and instincts as a runner, will make him a sought after commodity should he declare for the upcoming draft."
|PLAYER COMPARISON||Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders|
|PROJ. DRAFT POSITION||Mid to Late 1st Round|
|INJURY HISTORY||Missed entire 2011 season with broken ankle|
|CAREER ACOLADES||KEY STATS|
|2010 2nd Team All-SEC||2010: 204 carries, 1,322 yards (6.5 ypc), 13 TDs|
|2011 Team Captain, Preseason AA, All-SEC 1st team||2010: 19 catches, 136 yards (7.2 ypc), 1 TD|
|2012 Team Captain, Preseason 1st Team All-SEC||Career: 258 touches, 1,625 all purpose yards, 18 TDs|
A two-time team captain in 2011 and now in 2012, Knile Davis has developed not only into an excellent running back but also a great team leader. Following a breakout 2010 season, Davis missed the entire following season due to a broken ankle suffered in fall camp. Through the rehab process, Davis' work ethic, mental and physical toughness have improved dramatically; with a renewed focus and attention to detail, specifically in the film room and on the white board, Davis has worked on understanding the game at a higher level and becoming a better pass protector.
From an attitude and mentality standpoint, Davis is extremely confident in his abilities, claiming to be the top back in his conference during SEC media day interviews. Attesting to Davis' work ethic, are the numbers he posted while testing during the team's Spring football session, timing at a 4.33 in the 40 yard dash, as well as posting an impressive bench press of 415 pounds and a squat of 570 pounds.
Very physical and athletic, Knile Davis has all the traits and tools you look for in an every down, workhorse back. At 6'0 226 lbs, with exceptional change of direction skills, coordination and balance in his cuts, and possessing the explosive element to burst to and through the hole, Davis is the real deal. His loose hips and narrow base, combined with naturally quick feet and great balance allow for sharp cutbacks. Having a long frame with a powerful build, Davis still is able to bend and get his pad level down to maintain leverage against tacklers, deliver a hit, and fall forward. And despite having so much body length, Davis can squeeze through tight spaces because of his very coordinated, feet, hips, and shoulders through the hole.
Most impressive, is Davis' fluidity and smoothness as a runner, when making cuts or changing directions, as he's flashed the ability to string together multiple cuts while maintaining forward momentum. On perimeter runs where he's pressing the corner, Davis also shows excellent body control and balance, whether bending back runs to the inside or tight roping down the sideline. The total package of Knile Davis the athlete is superb, with a very high upside for continued development and improvement as a runner.
Immensely gifted from a physical tools standpoint, Davis' plus downhill accelerator, explosive burst to and through, and 4.3 speed make for a very tough back to contain. Quick, decisive, and explosive for his size, Davis drives and explodes off his plant foot when cutting across the grain to break open big runs past the 2nd level of the defense. Additionally, while having the explosive element to first of all, reach the 2nd level, Davis also has a 2nd gear to click and separate from defenders down the field.
From a pure speed standpoint, Davis has the ability to outrun defenders to the perimeter, turn upfield and break away down the sideline when presented with a crease. Having the mental toughness to remain focused and poised throughout the course of a game, Davis builds momentum as the game progresses. Not allowing initial contact to pin him down right away, he will either fall forward or spin off contact to gain extra yards. Plus leg drive and a high motor can be seen in the way he finishes his runs by falling forward. Power-speed backs are rare but Knile Davis fits the bill with perimeter speed and interior power to drive through contact.
Knile Davis as a runner, is both instinctive and patient, while focusing on getting North and South with his cuts. At his best on perimeter runs, Davis sets up the toss, stretch, or off tackle by pressing the edge, reacting to the defense’s pursuit, and either using his speed to get to the corner, or his lateral agility and foot speed to cut back inside. Davis consistently locates cutting lanes to explode up into the 2nd level because of his patience to allow blockers to develop, as well as his understanding of how to setup said blockers. Moreover, his vision is excellent not only on perimeter runs, but also between the tackles on inside zone runs, draw plays, and ISO runs.
Keeping plus pad level to and through, Davis skinnies his shoulders through the running lane to give defenders a smaller target to hit. Add in his acceleration and burst to and through, and you have a deceptive and subtly elusive running back to tackle in the hole. When reaching the 2nd level with his runs, Davis is quick to react and take advantage of poor closing angles by opposing tacklers, cutting across face to make the defender miss. Davis finishes every run with a forward lean, never allowing himself to be driven back after initial contact. With his style, Davis can excel in any blocking scheme.
In 2010, Davis struggled to locate and pick up his assignments on a consistent basis. When given a scan protection, Davis was over eager to break out into his pass pattern thereby missing an assignment altogether. He will need to be more patient with his reads in pass protection, and a year of applying film study and class room work to improve this skill set should be apparent in 2012. Developed with only time and experience, pass protection struggles are to be expected with true sophomore, first year starters in the SEC; Knile Davis must show that he has learned from his experience, in his second season as the full time starter, and I expect to see drastic improvement.
As a pass catcher there's much more to like about Davis, as he displays soft hands, development as a route runner, and the range to extend and snag off-target passes. Used heavily in Petrino's spread attack as a receiver, he ran every traditional running back checkdown route, as well as a sideline wheel route. With his size/speed combo boasting a 6'0 226 lbs frame with 4.4 speed and cutting skills, Knile Davis could be an even more dynamic receiver if given the opportunity at the next level.
Storming the SEC in his first season as a starter in 2010, Knile Davis exploded for 1,322 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns, as well as 19 catches for 136 yards and a lone receiving touchdown. Handling over 200 touches without showing signs of wear and tear, but rather building momentum as the season went along, Davis flashed his workhorse skill set, elite physical tools, and well-rounded game as a pass catcher. Davis' instinctive and decisive running style, matched with patience to set up and cut off of blockers, allowed for success as both a perimeter and between-the-tackles runner.
When pressing the edge, Davis does an excellent job of locating the cutback lane, planting and accelerating off his cuts, and reaching the 2nd level. Possessing subtle elusiveness to not give tacklers an direct target to strike, Davis constantly shrugged off arm tacklers to and through the hole, accelerating out to the 2nd and 3rd levels of the defense for big plays. Physically, Davis is an elite talent, with plus coordination, fluidity as a runner, change of direction skills, and impressive lateral agility for a back his size. His size/speed combo and instincts as a runner, will make him a sought after commodity should he declare for the upcoming draft.