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Auburn Commit and Legacy Stephen Davis Jr. Focused on 'Playmaker' Status

Auburn commit Stephen Davis Jr. is one of those athletes who, when asked if he wants to play safety or linebacker in college, has a simple answer.

Reason being, Davis wants to play safety. And linebacker. And wide receiver. And any other position a college coach will let him. For Davis, the nation's 17th-ranked athlete in the class of 2016 and the No. 5 player from the state of South Carolina, according to 247Sports, taking a play off during his senior year won't be a part of his plan.

"If there are 100 plays this year, I'm going to be on the field for all 100 plays," Davis said. "I have to be in the best shape I can, because I'm not coming off the field, honestly."

Lofty expectations indeed, but consider the source and what he's done on the field. Defensively, the Irmo, South Carolina, standout had 66 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery as a safety for Dutch Fork High School. He also saw time sparingly on offense, but in his eight rushing attempts, he scored three times and averaged a whopping 19.5 yards per carry, according to MaxPreps.com.

A 3-star athlete and the son of the former NFL running back with the same name, Davis considers himself the consummate playmaker. If he's not on the field, he's unable to make plays. To him, it's simple mathematics.

While it may not be as simple for most to comprehend, you can bet that Davis will lobby to the Dutch Fork coaching staff to see as much game time as possible. You can also bet that he'll see extended playing time as a senior.

Davis' play last Saturday is proof that he can be a major contributor. He worked out with the safeties during The Opening Charlotte regional and put a performance together worthy of wowing The Opening coaching staff and earning an invitation to the event finals this summer in Oregon.

"I just wanted to show that I can be a playmaker," he said. "Right now, I'm just playing safety, but I feel like I can play a lot of places in college."

At 6'4" and 215 pounds, Davis has the size, speed and skill set to effectively play outside linebacker, wide receiver or flex tight end at the next level. Davis added that playing defensive end or running back wouldn't be far-fetched, either.

"People say I look like a linebacker, so I may try linebacker in college," he said. "I'm going to play linebacker for my high school."

Playing multiple positions is the easy part for Davis. The hard part will be trying to match his father, who had an illustrious high school and college athletic career. The elder Davis rushed for more than 2,800 yards and 30 touchdowns in his career at Auburn from 1993-95 and then went on to become a three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, a two-time NFC rushing leader and a catalyst who competed in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Davis said he's often compared to the elder Davis, but the support he gets from his father is valued.

"He tells me what I should and should not do," the younger Davis said. "He keeps it simple and honest with me. That's what I love about him. He keeps it real.

"It can be hard sometimes, but it can also be fun. I know that people expect so much out of me because of who he is. For me being 16, they expect me to do a lot of stuff that some college people can't do. But I expect it out of myself. I know I can go out and compete and be that playmaker."

Davis has one more season at Dutch Fork, and then he'll prepare for college life, where he said he'll study law enforcement. The question, however, is, where?

Davis has been committed to Auburn—his father's alma mater—since Aug. 4, 2014, and he's still high on head coach Gus Malzahn, defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson and the rest of the coaching staff. On Saturday, however, Davis said he's only "70 percent" with his commitment and is looking at potential visits to Florida State, Clemson and UCLA.

"It's not just about the trips," Davis said. "I want to know how they are as a school and as a program. I'm not going to always play football. I want to see what I can major in and what the campuses are like and if the environments there are good around the schools."

While he weighs his options, Davis reiterated that he's still committed to Auburn and forever will be a fan regardless of what happens in the future. He knows the program well because of his father, and being a legacy is something he always thinks about.

A memorable return trip to Big Cat Weekend later this month could help bump that "70 percent" to a more comfortable number for Auburn fans. Davis said he's looking to make the trip to Auburn May 30.

"Auburn is family; it's like home for me," he said."It's a great environment. When you go down there, there's always something new. I just love it."


Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Offseason Question Marks for Top College Football Playoff Contenders

Spring football has finally wrapped up across the nation, and as college football players dig into their final exams and prepare for “voluntary” offseason workouts, the time has come to sit back and reflect, at least for a moment.

This week’s dominant college football story has been Everett Golson’s eventual destination following his transfer from Notre Dame, which has spiced up a slow period. Now is the time when players think about what lies ahead and coaches analyze what they have on their rosters.

It’s an excellent opportunity to look at the offseason questions that face the top College Football Playoff contenders. So we’re going to do just that.

Here’s an examination of the biggest question marks facing the top 12 teams in our most recent preseason top 25.

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Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly's Offensive Blueprint with Malik Zaire at QB

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A blueprint executed to perfection in 2012 is back on the table for Notre Dame football in 2015.

Everett Golson is gone, and Malik Zaire is left to run the show. While it’s tough to make the argument Notre Dame is better without Golson—the 85-man roster is weaker, after all, with the loss of a quarterback with 23 starts, 5,850 passing yards and 55 total touchdowns—life, in a way, is easier for Irish head coach Brian Kelly.

Instead of tailoring an offense to two different quarterbacks, Kelly, associate head coach Mike Denbrock and offensive coordinator Mike Sanford can go all-in with Zaire, crafting the playbook and play-call sheet to fit the style of the dual-threat redshirt sophomore.

And Kelly doesn’t have to look far for the blueprint.

Through five seasons in South Bend, five different quarterbacks have started for Kelly. How did Kelly fit the offenses around them?

The Irish trended toward a 50-50 split between running and throwing the last two seasons. But in 2012, with a first-year starter in Golson at the helm, Notre Dame ran roughly 57 percent of the time, the 34th-highest rush rate in the country, per TeamRankings.com.

Now correlation obviously doesn’t equal causation, but Kelly and the Irish were on to something with an inexperienced quarterback, a veteran defense and a rushing attack that featured heavy doses of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood with a side order of George Atkinson III.

Golson, a redshirt freshman at the time, only needed to complete 187 passes in a 12-1 season that ended with the trip to the national title game. He only tossed 12 touchdowns, but he only coughed up six interceptions. In his 12 games (11 starts), Golson attempted 318 passes.

By comparison, Golson’s 319th pass (of an eventual 427) during the 2014 season came in the third quarter against Arizona State, Notre Dame’s ninth game of the season and a loss during which Golson chucked four interceptions.

In the months since Zaire started and helped Notre Dame to a 31-28 win over LSU in the Music City Bowl, Irish fans have increasingly wondered—and some begged and clamored—if Notre Dame should run more in 2015. With Zaire unquestionably atop the quarterback depth chart now, the answer assuredly crystallizes for Kelly and company. The pieces around Zaire on offense seem ready for their part, as well.

“It was pretty clear that we’ve got a very good offensive line,” Kelly said after Notre Dame’s spring game in April. “They’re going to be able to control the line of scrimmage in most instances, and we’ll continue to go to our strength, which we believe is up front.”

Ronnie Stanley, Quenton Nelson, Alex Bars, Nick Martin, Steve Elmer and Mike McGlinchey will be tasked with protecting Zaire and plowing ahead for running backs Tarean Folston, Greg Bryant and C.J. Prosise, who certainly seem capable—in some combination—of at least replicating the production from Riddick, Wood and Atkinson in 2012.

The blueprint isn’t as straightforward as it might seem four months away from a season opener. Zaire will still have to make important throws, and the defense must play well enough to allow a persistent offensive focus on the ground game.

But a quarterback is gone, and an offensive identity could be forming.


All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia Football: Predicting the Bulldogs' 2015 Win-Loss Record

It’s mid-May, and that means the college football preview magazines will be hitting the shelves in the near future. And odds are many of those magazines will have the Georgia Bulldogs high in the polls and have them in first place in the SEC East.

That would not be a surprise, because the Bulldogs won 10 games last year, and they have the majority of their starters from last season coming back in 2015.

But they are also replacing some starters at very important positions, and if they don’t grow up in a hurry, it could be a long and disappointing season for the boys from Athens.

So what will be the win-loss record for the Bulldogs this upcoming season? Let’s take a look.

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