ATHENS — Aaron Davis didn’t want to say anything about it. The sophomore defensive back was almost embarrassed about it. He surely wasn’t about to boast about it.
“It” was the scholarship he had been rewarded recently. And while he was proud to have earned it and certainly relieved from a financial standpoint, Davis also knows there’s probably somebody else on the squad who was hopeful of receiving some aid who was disappointed he didn’t.
“Yeah, they did,” Davis said, almost inaudibly, when asked if he’d been placed on scholarship. “I’m just saying they did. I don’t really boast about it or anything. That’s never been me.”
Georgia used to make a big production of it when they awarded walkons what traditionally has been called “battlefield scholarships.” But coach Mark Richt the last two seasons has decided not to publicize the gesture because he said for every one recipient there are “a few other guys who are disappointed.”
Davis made a halfhearted attempt to talk reporters out of reporting it.
“I don’t know, I don’t really want to talk about it,” he said. “I mean, it’s really about the coaches’ evaluations. Even when I wasn’t (on scholarship) I was always focused on trying to get better. A scholarship has never been my goal or anything like that. I always felt if I strive to be the best player, that would be something beyond a scholarship. I was more about getting to the next level, performing on the next level. If a scholarship came with it, that’s just a perk.”
Davis certainly held up his end of the bargain. An invited walkon out of Locust Grove, Davis came in as a highly-decorated academician who graduated Summa Cum Laude at Luella High but also set a few team records as a wide receiver. But after moving to defensive back and being redshirted as a freshman, Davis flourished under the direction of defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and ended up starting 10 games at cornerback and nickelback last season. He finished with 40 tackles, five pass break-ups and an interception.
This season, Davis is expected to see significant playing time, if not start. But even he can’t be sure if it will be at cornerback, safety or nickel. Like most of the DBs, he has worked at all three spots in camp.
“We still have our core bunch together,” he said. “We have a lot of people returning. … We have four or five people a lot who played a lot together. We’re gaining a lot of chemistry together.”
Davis is still wearing a cast on his left hand due to what he called “a little fracture.” But he has been out of a green, non-contact jersey for the past week and says he’s able to perform without limitations.
“It’s just a little ding. The cast is for protection. … I’m not really worried too much about. I’m still able to catch the ball and play with it.”