Elsinore High alumnus Aaron Davis just finished a successful career at Southern Methodist University and has his sights set on a professional football career.
Aaron Davis is a shining example that being undersized and without a scholarship out of high school is hardly a death sentence to a football career.
The former Elsinore High standout is now generating interest as a NFL prospect after completing his four-year career at Southern Methodist University.
Davis, a defensive tackle, competed in Saturday’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at Carson. Coached by Super Bowl XXXIV champion coach Dick Vermeil, Davis’ National team rolled to a 34-0 win over the American squad.
The game, which features some of the nation’s top performing college seniors, was a week-long event where Davis was subjected to intense professional-style practices and given an orientation on life in the NFL.
“You get a taste for what’s expected out of you and what you have to do to play at the next level,” Davis said. “You obviously get taught new techniques and you have to be coachable. It was just overall a great experience.”
But Davis’ biggest hurdle still lies ahead of him. Like all perspective prospects, he will eventually have to work out in front of NFL scouts where he’ll be tested on various physical tests, which include the 40-yard dash, 225-pound bench press and the vertical jump.
Now that Davis is finished with classes at SMU, he has been rigorously training with the football program’s strength and conditioning coach, Mel deLaura.
“Every day, I have been going into the facility at SMU, anywhere from 4-6 hours a day,” Davis said. “I’ve been stretching, running, lifting weights, watching film, getting treatment. It’s nice to be able to focus on (nothing) but training right now. That’s all I am doing every day.”
If anybody knows the value of training to get desired results, it’s Davis.
Despite winning Sunbelt League defensive MVP at Elsinore in 2006, Davis wasn’t the exactly the Division I prototype in terms of his size.
“I was kind of a tweener,” said Davis, who played linebacker and tight end at Elsinore. “My senior year, I was probably 190, 185 (pounds). I had a lot of success playing linebacker. I was fairly athletic, very fast. A lot of people thought I might end up being a safety.”
Davis eventually attended Fresno State at the urging of Bulldogs linebackers coach Tom Mason. Davis attended school, but wasn’t involved with the football program during the 2007 season.
When Mason left to become the defensive coordinator at SMU, he encouraged Davis to follow him to Dallas as a walk-on.
It didn’t take long for Davis to convince head coach June Jones and his staff to reward him with a scholarship.
“I had a great year on special teams and they put me on scholarship,” Davis said. “I felt like I was very fortunate to play for a head coach like Coach Jones because he rewards guys who walk on and work hard. He gives out scholarships if you get on the field.”
Davis, who entered the program as a 215-pound linebacker, eventually put on mass to play defensive tackle at 290 pounds.
“We didn’t have a lot of depth at on the d-line at the time,” Davis said.
“I bought into the strength program, worked my tail off,” said Davis, nicknamed “Spike” because of his resemblance to the character from the movie ‘Little Giants.’
“I ended up gaining a lot of weight. I felt like I was a late bloomer. I had a lot of growing up to do and I probably didn’t start really growing up until I was 19, 20-years- old.”
In his four years, Davis enjoyed SMU’s renaissance as it reached four consecutive bowls following a 25-year bowl drought and the program’s infamous 1987 death penalty.
Davis’ first career sack occurred during the Mustangs’ 45-10 thumping of Nevada in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl. And what might be of interest to NFL scouts is that Davis brought down the elusive Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback of the Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers.
“That’s kind of my claim to fame right now,” Davis said.
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