Jamin Davis’ NFL dreams have become a reality. The former Kentucky linebacker was selected by the Washington Football Team in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft with the No. 19 overall pick. Davis is Mark Stoops’ third first-round draft pick from UK, following Bud Dupree (2015, No. 22 overall) and Josh Allen (2019, No. 7).
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) April 30, 2021
Described by UK’s coaches as a slow-cooker, nobody expected Davis to be a top draft pick this time one year ago.
A three-star recruit from the small town of Ludowici, Ga., the 247 Sports Composite ranked Davis as the No. 92 player from the state of Georgia in the 2017 recruiting class. Davis enrolled early and made an immediate impact, starring in the spring game with starters sidelined by injury, totaling a team-high eight tackles. After that game, we didn’t hear much from No. 44 until the final month of the 2019 season.
Davis finished his redshirt sophomore campaign with at least six tackles in each of his final four games, creating momentum for a breakout 2020 season. When Chris Oats was tragically sidelined by a medical emergency over the summer, Davis answered the bell.
Despite missing one game due to a COVID-19 absence, Davis still finished third in the SEC in tackles (102). It all started with a breakthrough performance against Mississippi State. Wearing his teammate’s No. 22 jersey, he recorded 11 tackles and picked off a pass in the end zone to help shut out Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. The following week he had an 85-yard pick six vs. Tennessee, the highlight of UK’s 2020 season. He ended his career on a high note by picking off a pass and making 13 tackles in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.
Many were surprised when Davis announced his intentions to enter the NFL Draft with one year of eligibility remaining. Once scouts got ahold of his tape and saw his gaudy pro day numbers, he ascended draft boards in unprecedented fashion. Now, Davis’ NFL dreams have come true, but he’s not done yet.
“Honestly, my main focus right now is trying to get in, make a few plays and work towards my second (check),” Davis told KSR. That mentality is why Davis will be in the league for years to come.