Embracing the grind: No. 2 Vikings’ Davis staying true to self

Gerald Thomas III | Special to the TimesLowndes linebacker Thomas Davis was named the Most Outstanding Player for his efforts in the 24-0 victory in the Winnersville Classic last year for the Vikings. 

VALDOSTA—A year from now, Lowndes Vikings senior linebacker Thomas Davis will be taking his talents to South Beach and joining the University of Miami Hurricanes football program.

But for now, the 18-year old from Douglas, Georgia is looking to create another chapter of his Viking career after setting the program sack record a season ago when he played defensive tackle.

“I want to accomplish another point at Lowndes,” Davis said at practice. “Last year I had the sack record with 17 sacks. I’m looking to beat that this year.”

Davis played a pivotal role with his pass rushing in the Vikings’ 14-1 state championship runner up season, where the defense allowed only 11.6 points per game.

Lowndes head coach Jamey DuBose has been blown away by Davis’ work ethic in his lone year coaching him.

“He’s an exceptional football player—that is a no brainer,” DuBose said after practice. “His work ethic off the field impresses me. He is a guy that likes the weight room and does not mind getting in there and getting stronger. He’s a very disciplined kid. He is not a guy that you have to go looking for to get to practice. From all accounts I have seen, he likes to practice. Some players are in it for games and recruiting but Thomas doesn’t mind the work and the things he has to do to get better.”

Davis made the switch from the defensive line to linebacker prior to the season and

DuBose acknowledged the hunger for growth and the versatility of Davis during the move.

“I think he understands that he’s not there yet since he’s moved to linebacker,” he said. “He has ways to train and get better to learn the reads and in and outs of playing in and outs of playing inside linebacker. I think he has tremendous upside. He is really good at technique. I think the biggest thing to Thomas with recruiting, when people look at him is they see the upside in another position that he’s going to be playing and where the talent that he has now is going to have him in 3-4 years.”

Davis missed two weeks of action after having concussion symptoms, but returned to the field against Lee County, where he racked up four tackles (all for losses) and a sack in stops that saved drives for the Vikings’ defense on the way to their 38-13 victory.

During his time out, he served as an emotional leader for the Vikings, motivating his teammates and irritating opponents from the sideline but missed being out on the field.

“I was happy to be back out there,” Davis said. “All I did was play well for the team and the coaches to contribute to a victory.”

Playing the game of football since five-years old, Davis fell in love with the physicality of the sport. This showed true when Davis had a big hit in last week’s contest, forcing a fumble out of the ball carrier’s hand before the defense recovered to give the Viking offense the ball. 

“I love hitting people,” Davis said. “There’s nothing like hitting people between the lines. That is the only sport you can do it in. So why not?”

Though Davis plays on the defensive end, he looks up to Kansas City Chiefs’ wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who he shares the same hometown with.

“We’re from the same town. That is my cousin’s best friend, so I look up to him. We talk sometimes and he’s a good person and has a good personality,” Davis said about the Super Bowl Champion.

As Davis is on his way to the Hurricanes for his freshman year, he is sticking to his guns and bringing the tools that helped him succeed at Lowndes.

“I’m looking to be the best me at Miami,” Davis said on making the transition to college. “I am going to do what I do at Lowndes but be better. Since I am going to the next level, it is going to be better players and athletes than me, so I need to get there and ball out like I do here.”

Davis has not declared for a major at the Miami yet but says he thinks about and does his research on it daily.

Davis and the Vikings will take on the Valdosta Wildcats in the Winnersville Classic at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium on Oct. 9. Last year, Davis was named the Most Outstanding Player for his efforts in the Vikings’ 24-0 victory in the Classic. 

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