There’s an eighth grade football player in Charlotte who recently got college football offers from Alabama and Georgia.
And Providence Day’s Jadyn Davis won’t turn 14 until August.
“My social media blew up as soon as I clicked the button on Twitter” to announce the offers, Davis said. “It was pretty hectic. I had to turn my phone off for a little bit. I’m young and have a long way (to go) until I commit. I’m trying to stay as a kid. I’ve got to keep grinding and keep working.”
Davis is 6-foot and 155 pounds. He’s been a regular on college campuses for awhile now, and throwing balls in front of people like Alabama coach Nick Saban is not a big deal anymore. Last season, Davis completed 54-of-96 passes for the Chargers’ eighth grade team. He had 716 passing yards with 10 touchdowns. He ran for five more.
The Chargers played eight-minute quarters against other Charlotte-area middle school teams and frequently Davis would only hand off the ball or would sit on the sidelines after halftime to prevent the scores from getting out of hand. Providence Day averaged 34 points per game and finished 5-2 last season.
“Potentially,” Chargers coach Adam Hastings said, “he could follow that line of great quarterbacks you’ve seen come through the city. You can see his ability and his arm talent is really good. He throws a smooth, easy ball. He’s just a lot farther along than kids his age, and he can just do things that are just uncommon.”
Right now, Davis is competing with two-time, all-state senior Cody Cater for the starting job. Cater has offers from Bucknell, Furman, Lehigh and Villanova.
“It’s a great situation for Cody and Jadyn,” Hastings said. “Both are talented players and pushing each other to get better. They’re both competitive, but it’s a healthy competition and I’ve been impressed with how they’ve handled it.”
Being so young, though, Davis might not enter school in the fall as a high school freshman. Davis said he and his family are discussing having him repeat the eighth grade at Providence Day.
No matter what he does, Jadyn Davis is already a “name” on the college football recruiting circles, as unusual as that may seem.
“It is unusual,” Hastings said, “but college recruiting itself is an unusual animal today, so it’s hard to explain. Four or five years ago, this was unheard of. We had a player here who got offered as an eighth grader years ago (wide receiver Porter Rooks, now at Myers Park) and that was one of the first ones I’d heard about in this state for a really long time.”
In 1999, Wake Forest offered a future Independence High All-American named Chris Leak a scholarship offer in the summer before Leak’s ninth grade year. He would set numerous state records and win three straight state championships at Independence. As a college senior, Leak started in front of a freshman named Tim Tebow and led the Florida Gators to the 2007 BCS national championship.
“To me, it’s crazy that recruiting has gotten so fast,” Hastings said, “but it’s the reality of today.”
This is how fast it is. On a Saturday in early June, Davis went to a camp in Athens and showed his talent in front of Georgia coaches. After the camp, he met with Bulldogs quarterbacks coach, James Coley, and was surprised with an offer.
Four days later, Davis was at a similar camp at Alabama. When it was over, Saban gave him an offer.
“I’ve always dreamed of this as a kid,” Davis said, “and when they told me I got an offer, I was like, ‘Dreams really do come true.’ I didn’t expect it. I felt like they see my work ethic at this age and how much potential I have. I haven’t proven anything yet. I haven’t touched a high school field yet. But they haven’t seen anything yet. I’m telling you that.”