It doesn’t take much for Raekwon Davis to make an impression.
The junior defensive lineman for Alabama scarcely has to speak. His bulk brings enough attention on its own.
He doesn’t have to talk about where he’s making progress.
“I’m just working my technique,” he said.
Doesn’t have to play along with jokes about his 6-foot-7 frame.
“I don’t play basketball,” he said.
Football is probably enough for Davis, who earned a starting job as a sophomore. He’s one of three returning starts for Alabama this season and perhaps its most acclaimed defensive player entering the season. Davis was voted a second-team AP All-American this preseason and a first-team preseason All-SEC selection.
A handful of other national awards are keeping an eye on him as well after he finished 2017 third on the team with 69 tackles. He led Alabama with 8.5 sacks and was second on the team with 10 tackles for loss.
Davis also finished the season with a highlight in the second half of the national championship when he intercepted Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. He took the ball back 19 yards across midfield to set up a field goal.
“I got tackled by the quarterback,” he said. “I had no moves. When the ball came up in the air I just got it. It was crazy.”
Davis is listed at 316 pounds this year. At that height and weight, he’s bigger than former Alabama defensive linemen Jonathan Allen (6-3/291), Dalvin Tomlinson (6-3/305), Da’Ron Payne (6-2/308), A’Shawn Robinson (6-4/312) and Jarran Reed (6-4/313) were in their college careers. His 8.5 sacks as a sophomore was also more than any of them had at that point in their development.
“Raekwon’s just a different human,” defensive lineman Quinnen Williams said. “He’s so huge and he’s so athletic to be that big and strong and never get tired. He’s just an animal I’ve never seen before.”
That size can be an advantage when he uses it to gain leverage on opponents, Davis said. His length can also help him engage blockers.
Being 6-foot-7 isn’t always so great, though. For example, it made for a challenge when trying to fold himself into a two-seat car.
“It was horrible,” he said.
He didn’t say more than that. His size told the rest of the story.
He thinks he’ll be a better pass rusher this year.
“Yes sir,” he said when asked.
He didn’t say more than that.
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.