Heading into the 2020 Kentucky football season, linebacker Jamin Davis was a relatively unknown name in the Southeastern Conference, as he was expected to be nothing more than a complementary piece to the team’s key starters in Chris Oats and DeAndre Square.
When Oats tragically suffered a stroke last May, Davis was thrust into the starting lineup, where he somehow managed to exceed any and all expectations placed on him. On the year, the junior linebacker finished with a team-high 102 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three interceptions, two pass deflections, one defensive touchdown and one forced fumble after combining for just 42 total tackles in his first two seasons at Kentucky.
As a result, Davis is seen as one of the fastest rising prospects in the entire 2021 NFL Draft.
“Heck, a year ago you guys weren’t talking about Jamin. You weren’t. If Chris doesn’t have that tragedy happen to him, Jamin would have been battling Chris just to get on the field. That’s what you want, that’s what you want in your program,” Stoops said in an interview with KSR back in March. “I’m just so proud of him, the work that he’s put in, it doesn’t surprise me that he’s rising. He is learning to play the game each and every day. He came out early, which you have to be super talented, but really mature to come out early and have the rise that he’s having.”
In fact, Pro Football Focus lists Davis as a top-five rising prospect in the draft class. In the outlet’s latest article highlighting the players seeing a major spike in draft stock leading up to this week’s NFL Draft, the former Kentucky linebacker came in at No. 4 overall.
“Davis is a very similar story to (Indiana safety) Jamar Johnson. He didn’t even earn a starting job until this past season as a redshirt junior,” PFF said of Davis. “When he did, though, he certainly made the most of it. Davis flashed some of the best sideline-to-sideline plays of anyone in this draft en route to an 87.5 run-defense grade. That showed up at his Pro Day, where he ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash with an 11-foot broad jump and a 42-inch vertical. He’s the type of explosive athlete that doesn’t last long in the draft.”
Check out the complete list:
1. QB Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)
2. CB Greg Newsome II (Northwestern)
3. S Jamar Johnson (Indiana)
4. LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky)
5. OT Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State)
“I think most people realize that as good as he is and as great a young man he is, he’s still got the best football ahead of him. The sky is the limit for him,” Stoops told KSR. “He’s going to be a great ambassador, just like all those guys are for us in the NFL, representing Kentucky and the BBN. Jamin will be a great ambassador for us for years to come. He’ll keep that tradition going of the linebackers playing in the NFL from Kentucky, Jamin will do well.”
The NFL Draft begins tonight at 8 p.m. ET, where Davis is expected to hear his name called in the first round. Who will take the standout linebacker?