Walk-on cornerback makes rapid ascension to Georgia's first-team defense



ATHENS, Ga. — Even the most rabid Georgia fans probably didn’t know who Aaron Davis was until recently.

The walk-on cornerback moved up to the first team as new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt continues to shuffle the secondary.

Davis said Thursday he received some recruiting interest from Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference programs in his sophomore season at Luella High School in Locust Grove, Ga., before two knee surgeries changed that.

He contacted Georgia, his favorite school, and joined the program last summer as a preferred walk-on after the only other options were at Division III programs.

“I felt like this was a better opportunity for me,” he said. “If I was getting recruited to be SEC, ACC, I don’t really want to cut myself short. I felt like I should step up to the challenge and walk on to a school because if I have to go to D-III and pay money anyways, I might as well go to a place where I want to be.”

Davis tore the ACL in his left knee in the spring before his junior season, but had to have another surgery because of a partial tear.

He hasn’t played in a game at cornerback since his sophomore year at Locust Grove.

His only other game since then was the final one of his senior season when he played receiver.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Davis didn’t get in a game last season for Georgia and only dressed out for three games, one of which was the bowl game.

Pruitt is a stickler for doing things a certain way, including using the correct technique he teaches.

That’s why Davis, who graduated from high school Summa Cum Laude and as an AP scholar, figures he’s been running with the first team.

“I just feel like I did the right thing pretty much, what he’s asked for,” Davis said. “Just given him what he wants and I guess that’s how I’ve been moving up.”


QUICK TRIGGER: Pruitt hasn’t allowed much wiggle room for mistakes in the secondary, linebacker Jordan Jenkins said.

“I’ve seen people get fired for messing up two or three plays in a row,” Jenkins said. “I remember Pruitt yelling, ‘All, right, you’re fired. Somebody else get him off the field.’ That’s how quick it is with the DBs. You mess up a couple of plays, you’re out. He told Corey (Moore) one day, ‘You’re fired. Get off the field.’ He doesn’t mean it all the time. It’s definitely funny watching them in practice getting subbed in and out.”

Pruitt, who coaches the defensive backs, treats returning starters the same as walk-ons who have never taken a snap.

Even before spring practice.

Davis said Pruitt held one-on-one meetings with every player to get to know each individually.

“It felt good,” Davis said. “It was like everybody got an equal opportunity, an equal time to meet him.”


QUICK HITS: Keith Marshall, the tailback coming off an ACL injury, tweeted recently: “(I don’t know) who came up with all this redshirt talk.” Coach Mark Richt said in an interview on 680 The Fan on Thursday morning: “We think Keith is doing extremely well. We think he’ll be fine. All throughout the summer, I don’t think there will be any limitations and he’ll be ready to play. I don’t think that’s going to be an issue as far as a redshirt.” ... Georgia practiced Thursday in Sanford Stadium to prepare for Saturday’s G-Day game.