2016 Recruiting: Kingston Davis

Submitted by Brian on July 13th, 2016 at 12:50 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S Josh Metellus, S Khaleke Hudson, CB David Long, CB Lavert Hill, LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB Devin Bush Jr., LB Devin Gil, LB Josh Uche, DE Ron Johnson, DT Michael Dwumfour, DT Rashan Gary, DE Carlo Kemp, OL Ben Bredeson, OL Michael Onwenu, OL Stephen Spanellis, TE Nick Eubanks, TE Sean McKeon, TE Devin Asiasi, WR Eddie McDoom, WR Nate Johnson, WR Kekoa Crawford, WR Chris Evans, WR Brad Hawkins, WR Ahmir Mitchell.

       
Prattville, AL – 6'1", 225
       

26190998735_b3ba52ee36_z

Scout 3*, NR overall
#101 RB
Rivals 3*, NR overall
#2 FB, #17 AL
ESPN 3*, NR overall
#77 RB, #31 AL
24/7 3*, #907 overall
#2 FB, #32 AL
Other Suitors Neb, UF, LSU, UL, MissSt, Miss
YMRMFSPA Sione Houma
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter. Early enrollee. Prattville (Keith Washington, Bam Richards).

Film

Senior:

Sam Webb was taking in Michigan's satellite camp in Prattville, Alabama, last year when an older gentleman came up to him and started asking about Kingston Davis. "I hear Michigan's recruiting him as a fullback," the man said. Michigan was not recruiting Davis as a fullback. Webb said as much to the man, who then introduced himself as Davis's father. When Sam related this story to me he more or less made it sound like this:

Sam left with his head. Kingston Davis, who is not a fullback, committed shortly thereafter. Kingston Davis knows which recruiting sites had the audacity to declare him a fullback

…"All of (the schools) recruited me at running back. Rivals and 247, I didn't know what happened," Davis said. "They just put me down as a fullback, so everyone started thinking I was a fullback. But that's not my game."

…and he is not pleased. Beware, oh sites that ranked him thusly, for you know not the hour when a moose/human hybrid will find his revenge. You only know he will be carrying a football at the time of your doom.

Anyway. Davis was highly productive at Prattville, setting a school record with 1656 yards in his final season despite Prattville's failure to make the playoffs and going over 100 yards in 17 of his 23 starts. He operated like a high school Brandon Minor as a straight-ahead plowhorse in a spread offense. Five-star Alabama LB commit Lyndell Wilson is a fan after seeing Davis's thighs up close and personal 25 or so times:

"Kingston is an outstanding back and a bruiser. He's explosive for his size and makes big time plays when his team needs him to. … He's very underrated. I don't know much about what he does at camps, but when he puts the pads on and we're playing 11 on 11, he's definitely a beast."

Davis's scouting reports are in line with expectations for a guy who has to strenuously proclaim that he's not a fullback. His attendance at a Rivals camp in Atlanta saw him declared "one of the biggest backs in attendance"—not a surprise—and a guy who had "a ton of success during one-on-ones." That latter is a surprise. Unpadded camps are the worst possible showcase for a guy like Davis.

Tim Sullivan caught him in person, when he was an even bigger load that he seems to be now:

thick trunk and legs … not slow, but the added weight seems to have cost him a half-step of his quickness.… tough load for opposing defenders to bring down. … if a player doesn't hit him low, he's shrugging off the tackle attempt and continuing on his merry way (often into the endzone). He has good balance, and his feet are quicker than you'd expect for a player of his mass - though they can be even better when he's in excellent shape.

ESPN has another of those evaluations more positive than his ranking:

…compact and impressive looking frame. Fullback bulk. …enough speed to break and finish runs, good anticipation in space to feel traffic and change his course to finish. … Will set up blocks … Power style, gap scheme back who runs with good box acceleration. Not a back with high end agility. … true strengths are his size and power. Uses these attributes well working downhill on a consistent basis. Will run high losing some of his power and balance at times. …will punish tacklers consistently. … Understands his strengths and works to use them on each play.

Clint Brewster:

….big bruiser …tough runner that can also make subtle cuts in the open field to extend runs ..Not great maneuverability through the hole or change of direction …good power to run through tackles when he keeps his pad level low. He's a patient but decisive runner with a forward lean and a physical style… productive as a short yardage runner and should be a nice red-zone running back. Should fit will as a power runner in Harbaugh's downhill scheme.

Touch The Banner:

…. runs with his shoulders square to the line at all times and has good body lean. He runs behind his pads and will lower his shoulder to power through tackles from linebackers and defensive backs. He also has a good feel for seeing the hole, sliding laterally to get there, and pressing upfield. Davis also shows a couple nifty spin moves in the hole, rolls out of the grasp of defenders, and even displays an occasional stiff-arm. He falls forward after contact and should gain an extra yard or two while being tackled.

Tyrone Wheatley echoed TTB's evaluation, calling him a "big guy with great vision, great lateral movement and great ball skills" on MGoBlue and telling Webb on WTKA the following:

"This young man is a very, very good runner in terms of vision. His lateral movement is exceptional. Ninety percent of the game is played in traffic and he's able to slide to the next hole. He's sneaky fast. He's a ground-churning, move the chains type of back. A guy we need."

"Able to slide to the next hole" is key when you run a ton of power, because defenses will seek to redirect you with various slants and games and the like; both fullback and tailback have to be aware of the shifting situation in front of their faces and adapt. While Davis is never going to be the kind of guy you want to bounce the ball outside, having the agility and vision to make a course correction is the difference between Kevin Grady and Jerome Bettis. Davis's ability to do that is his main asset outside of the fact that he's borrowing various body parts from dinosaurs.

247 notes that Michigan pursued "bulldozer" Davis with "an aggression reserved for some of the country's top prospects." In this Davis is like tight end Sean McKeon, another guy with bleah rankings who Michigan clearly believes in enough to not only reserve a slot in the class but also an early enrollment spot. As I said in the McKeon profile, while I'd like Michigan to pick up the phone earlier with recruits they aren't going to take, a silver lining to their approach is that when a generic three star does get to Signing Day without incident that's a good indication Michigan likes him a lot better than their ranking.

Davis is the kind of guy who might have been a bigger recruit in 1970, when virtually every program was looking for guys to blow through arm tackles and run over folks when they ran power for the 40th time. While his recruiting rankings are mediocre all around, there was a flurry of interest from other schools even after he committed to Michigan. SEC powers Florida and LSU came in with offer-type substances. LSU's was… interesting:

“They told (my coach) that they wanted to offer me,” said Davis. “(The offer is for) tailback/athlete. Running back… (maybe) slot receiver.”

You'll note that the Gators and Tigers are both manball outfits. Mike Riley's Nebraska is headed that direction and also offered. Davis talked about visiting all these schools but only got out to Nebraska. Davis carries an appeal to a certain type of coach. One of those coaches is Tyrone Wheatley, who morphed from a lightning bolt at Michigan to a pounding NFL running back in one of the most dramatic playing-style makeovers I can remember. When Wheatley appeared on WTKA to discuss Davis and was just as adamant as his new protege that he was a tailback:

"Sometimes people just look on paper and (look at your measurables) and say 'you're a fullback.' Well, I'm not a fullback. If you watched me in college, I never iso blocked anyone. That's a different lifestyle," Wheatley said last week on WTKA-AM in Ann Arbor. "I spent my time avoiding people, not running into them. Kingston's the same way. People would look at his measurables and websites would list him as a fullback. He'd get upset, he'd call me 'coach Wheat, I'm not a fullback. ... I know you're not a fullback, relax.'

Davis has a head coach and running backs coach uniquely disposed to see him as the man with the ball.

Still, Davis's size will make or break his ability to stick at running back, and there are shades of Derrick Green in there. Just shades, mind you. Going into his junior year, Davis weighed in at 228 at a South Carolina camp; at the same time Green was trying to prove he wasn't a DL. However, Sullivan thought he was a big big dude during his senior year:

…we last saw Davis play in the spring, he was planning to shed a few pounds (he was 242 at the time) by the start of his season, but if anything, he looks even bigger now.

He's listed anywhere from 225 to that 242-or-bigger. MGoBlue has him at the lower number, but you take spring roster weights at your peril. Anywhere up to 235 and Davis is good to go as a bashing tailback; once he starts edging above that the ability to get to that second gap in the line gets compromised and the dread specter of fullback rises once more.

Etc.:  Acquired Harbaugh dab. Wolverine artistry skills mediocre at best:

image

Why Sione Houma? This is not necessarily a fullback comparison, as Houma played more and more tailback as the year went on and Michigan discovered he was not only capable of ripping through the line on a dive but juking the occasional DL in the backfield. Houma got up to 243 over the course of his career at Michigan and Davis may end up there given the fact he already hit that number in high school. Also he just looks Houma-sized even now; I wonder if the 225 he's listed at is fact or aspiration.

Derrick Green is another comparable if Davis can't keep his weight down and falls over way too easily for a guy his size. Touch the Banner suggested former Wisconsin tailback PJ Hill, and that's a pretty good one. Hill was only 5'10" but played at 220; he was a clubber with surprisingly deft feet. FWIW, Davis compares himself to Eddie Lacy. Lorenz brings up Chris Floyd.

Guru Reliability: Moderate. Everyone agrees, and Davis was healthy on a high-profile team. I do think that Davis may have gotten short shrift as a couple sites filed him as a fullback and forgot about him, because fullback.

Variance: Low. College size already, not a ton of upside, not much positional projection, comes from a military family.

Ceiling: Moderate. Won't ever be a home run hitter and there's a reason backs like him are a little bit out of style.

General Excitement Level: Moderate. Most likely outcome is that Davis is the thunder in a "thunder and slightly less thunder" RB platoon; there is a slim chance he's Toby Gerhart again.

Projection: 50/50 on a redshirt. Davis has the kind of body that is useful on special teams and running back is a spot where you generally have it or you don't; he's also physically ready to go and enrolled early. He could get some run this year, especially if there are injury issues. Even a redshirt zealot like your author would shrug at Davis playing this year.

In 2017 Smith is gone and a lot of carries will open up; Michigan fans are currently hoping that Ty Isaac is an obvious choice as his successor. Davis will still have an opportunity since with Smith's graduation he's a solid bet to be the best short-yardage back on the roster. He could graduate from that as an upperclassman, but even if he pans out I think he's still platooning with Walker or one of the guys who comes in this year.

Yes, fullback—hybrid fullback—is a possibility. While Davis is dead set against it at the moment, a Houma role might be appealing if he feels that he's the #3 or #4 tailback and is facing a choice between getting 50 extra carries on dives or watching from the bench.

Comments

kman23

July 13th, 2016 at 1:17 PM ^

You know when you were in elementary school and all the kids drew a picture and they made it a class shirt? Can we please make a shirt like that but with the wolverine drawings and the name below?

 

I think it'd be hilarious.

miCHIganman1

July 13th, 2016 at 1:18 PM ^

Askew was a little taller and leaner, but kidn of fit that rb/fb hybrid role.  He came in at 6"3" 210 lbs but finished at 6'3" 233 lbs as a senior.  So a little taller and lighter than Kingston Davis likely is right now.

ChiCityWolverine

July 13th, 2016 at 1:26 PM ^

I didn't realize quite how anti-fullback Kingston was himself. I would have assumed the staff promised he'd come in with the opportunity to compete at tailback, but fill in where needed if necessary. Taking a look at the roster, it would have to be a pretty big surprise for Davis not to spend some time at FB down the road. 

Only 2017-commit Chase Lasater fits the bill as a FB/HBack type expected to be on the 2018 roster. FB is a spot that walk-ons can and do emerge, but considering the rotation Harbaugh used a year ago (even with a couple studs in Kerridge and Houma) more bodies will be needed there. 

Blau

July 13th, 2016 at 7:56 PM ^

Davis is looking at the FB position like it's a bad thing. If he's been paying attention to the quick-cut running plays that Kerridge and Houma both took advantage of, it could be a sign of things to come. Plain and simple, if the staff offers him snaps at FB he should take them. 

getsome

July 13th, 2016 at 8:32 PM ^

agreed.  weve seen how things open up with FBs capable of running and catching in addition to standard blocking.

yet another reason why i hoped they try winovich at FB - the only current depth is walkons and a converted TE and converted DL (both weighing like 260-270 lbs), winovich is already a position shuffler, and hes likely one of the few guys floating on roster with necessary size and ability to pull off anything resembling houma.  winovich is athletic, tough, doesnt mind playing physical and he played all over the place in hs (QB, RB, LB, etc) if i recall correctly.

shallman enrolled with a size / skill set combo that led many to believe he had a future as a FB or H if he couldnt earn reps at RB (or maybe even LB or DE if O didnt work out) - but in addition to seemingly only wanting to play RB, shallman plays a more finesse game and isnt very physical which leads me to doubt his ability to handle a mostly facemask-cracking spot like FB.

so i totally understand harbaugh offering and potentially signing multiple FB candidates (even if i may not love their overall games or ability) bc those type players can bring a ton to his O.

id be surprised if davis doesnt rep at least a little at FB before hes done.  he looks solid on tape and i hope he breaks in and gets his carries but i cant imagine hed turn down potential reps at FB if hes struggling to make an impact at RB down the line.  almost everyone just wants to get on the field

Magnus

July 13th, 2016 at 1:26 PM ^

I can understand why a star high school running back would be reticent to be a fullback. Teams in the NFL basically carry one fullback, so you're talking about just ~32 jobs available in the NFL once you graduate college. And those jobs are spread out amongst people who are up to their early or mid-thirties.

At the same time, it's almost comical the way some people refuse to be labeled in that way. There's basically no other position where people so consistently say, "No no no no no, I do NOT want to be a fullback." You don't see that with corners who might be labeled as safeties, linebackers who might be labeled defensive ends, tight ends who might be labeled as tackles, etc.

A brief list of recent commits who DO NOT want to be fullbacks:

  • Ben Mason
  • Chase Lasater
  • David Reese
  • Kingston Davis
  • Wyatt Shallman

Rabbit21

July 13th, 2016 at 1:40 PM ^

I think a Houma style-hybrid is a great place for him to start.  He has to learn to block anyway, so may as well get some touches and get in the game, if it gets sold right he's still a "tailback" just one with a slightly expanded role.  The conversation probably has to be handled a certain way, but I know if I'm given a choice between playing or not playing, I'm taking door no. 1.

turd ferguson

July 13th, 2016 at 9:25 PM ^

Probably not the kind of thing that worries most 18-year-olds, but I thought Wheatley's comment about avoiding guys vs. running into guys was interesting in the context of the concussion problems. All else equal, give me the job that doesn't require me to slam into giant men 50 times/game.

Blue Balls Afire

July 13th, 2016 at 1:43 PM ^

Apt comparison to Houma, IMO.  If I recall, he ran behind an excellent offensive line in high-school--one of the best I've seen at that level.  I hope he is open to fullback, because I think that's where his snaps will come.  I hope I'm wrong and he is a great tailback, but I didn't see that in his film.  He has some juke, some speed, good size, but a lot of his yards came from his O-line opening gaping holes.  Again, hope I'm wrong and he becomes the great tailback he wants to be.

Also, I'm not an expert on game film--just an asshole with a computer, an opinion, and an internet connection.

m_go_T

July 13th, 2016 at 2:03 PM ^

La'veon Bell in college.  In college he looked like a defensive end running through LBs.  I hope Davis grows into this type of player (or a bruising fullback).  Either way, I have high hopes for him being a productive player under Harbaugh.  

On a related note, only two more profiles to go: Walker and Peters.  That means we are getting closer to practices, which means practice reports, which means Brian's preseason breakdowns, which means its almost time for our first UFRs of the season!!!!  

Blue Balls Afire

July 13th, 2016 at 2:17 PM ^

Maybe I'm wrong or maybe we looked at different tape, but I didn't see Davis do a lot of bruising and running through LB's.  To me, the one exceptional skill he possessed was being able to set up and read his blockers.  Otherwise, nothing really stood out from his film except his O-line.  I recall thinking I could be a three star recruit running behind that O-line, and I'm short, fat, and prone to drop everything at the mere mention of buffets.

Agree, season can't come soon enough.  Its sooooo close now!

funkywolve

July 14th, 2016 at 11:31 AM ^

my recollection of the fullback runs last year was that they were quick hitting plays.  There really isn't any decision making process needed by the fullback until he gets past the dline.  The fullback gets the handoff and hits a certain gap.  If the gap is clogged (which it rarely was) then it's a minimal gain, if any.  If the gap is open the fullback is quickly into the second level of the defense and from there, it's all about what the fullback can do on his own.

Blue Balls Afire

July 14th, 2016 at 12:08 PM ^

I think what Miggle was trying to do was catch me in a contradiction and his question was not intended to be taken literally.  So, to address what I think his point is, mine is that what I saw from Davis’s tape was ONLY that skill (being very good at setting up blocks) while the rest of his gains came from great O-line play, and if it’s not there on any given down, my fear is that the yards won’t be either.  Yes, I know that’s true for all RB’s, but I’m talking about to what degree.  Some need herculean O-line play to be successful (me—ie, old, fat, buffet laden) while others do not (Barry Sanders).  Because of that, my belief is that he’s better suited to the hybrid Houma role for all the reasons Brian mentions above.  Again, I’m no expert.  This is just my opinion.  And if Davis’s father really is the one posting in this thread, he seems like a great Dad and I’m rooting for his son.

Mr Miggle

July 14th, 2016 at 3:50 PM ^

everything else I'm reading. Nothing that I've seen about his play suggests he is well suited to fullback. It doesn't suit his running style, his playing style according to Wheatley and certainly he is strongly opposed to it. It takes more to be a good fullback than just bulk.

There are always people here looking to turn every big RB into a FB. Who was the last one to actually move there?  I can't remember a single one at Michigan, but we have had FBs transition to RB. The reality is that if a RB can't get carries he's far more likely to transfer.

Blue Balls Afire

July 14th, 2016 at 11:32 AM ^

I'm rooting for him.  Whether at FB or TB, I hope he turns out great, like we all do with every recruit.  A big RB adds another dimension to a team.  The thing I've noticed about Harbaugh, he'll give everyone a chance, especially early in the season, and he'll let the players play themselve into or out of a bigger role.  

LKLIII

July 13th, 2016 at 2:03 PM ^

I understand the reluctance of guys to be labeled as a FB with regards to NFL teams and roster slots. But many of them do have a bruiser option in the RB corps. We need a name for that kind of player like Kingston. I nominate the term "thunder back". Not s fullback but not your traditional every down or third down RB.

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LBSS

July 13th, 2016 at 2:05 PM ^

"Slide to the next hole," the latest in football's proud tradition of hilarious unintentional double-entendres.

Announcing highlight I'm praying for this year: "Watch Davis here on this replay: He does a great job following the tight end, Butt, as he slides to the next hole."

LKLIII

July 13th, 2016 at 2:10 PM ^

To accommodate the plethora of Harbaugh runny/blocky/catchy guys we are going to have on this time, I feel like we need some type of handy diagram to plot them all out. Kind of like a GRB primary color wheel with gradients or a Venn diagram.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Kevin13

July 13th, 2016 at 2:10 PM ^

like Kingston and hopefully he will keep some quickness and speed. Nice to bring him in for a couple of series and pound away at the defense, then counter with some speed. Also could be a good blocker and blow up some LB's paving the way for another back.

wahooverine

July 13th, 2016 at 2:55 PM ^

Hopefully it's not a Derrick Green type situation with a parent, his dad in this case, making comments about playing time or about his son being "just a FB".  The depth chart at RB next season looks to be stacked assuming the current commits stick.  Also, does Karan Higdon still have a role?  Haven't heard his name in a long time. I feel like he is the Alex Malzone of the RB group.

Mgodiscgolfer

July 13th, 2016 at 8:39 PM ^

Playing time, fullback possibilities, Whoa! color me uninformed. No really..... After rereading I couldn't tell if I were serious lol. All I ever heard was home sickness or something of that nature. I do agree the depth chart at TB is deep at least as far as a casual die hard Michigan fan can see. When you think platooning you can get two maybe three backs shuttling for down and dis. That can make for a larger depth chart and alot of opportunity for hungry hard hitting hybrid tailbacks who can run through arm tackles and have some anti linebacker speed.

Mgodiscgolfer

July 14th, 2016 at 1:54 AM ^

its an honor  and i can't tell you how excited we are to have your son in a Michigan uniform. .Also I was not referring to you and your son I was asking about D Green who was another fine back. Another blogger up above started to say something about his dad and I wanted him to know that I had not heard anything about Derrick Greens Dad.

 The only thing I waa saying about your son is he reminded me of Mark Ingram and thats a fairly nice compliment. Also I understand you speaking with Sam Webb he is a straight shooter and will not lead anyone astray with advice that isn't typically backed up by some very very good sources and if Sam tells you Michigan is looking at your son as a tailback than by God you can take that to the bank. Hope this clears any matters about me at least talking about the comparison and the Irony of Mark Ingram coming from Michigan and going to Alabama and your  son Kingston coming from Alabama going to Michigan and the hopes in Kingston finding the same success here in Michigan as Mark found in Bama.

Mgodiscgolfer

July 14th, 2016 at 2:05 AM ^

Kingston is in some very good hnds here with this coaching staff. When Brady Hoke was here he would recruit the best backs but the development was proven to be slow. They had vision as if they were blind folded and had poor balance. Now this coaching staff has turned the former backs Brady had into real threats to break off big gains as well as catch passes much better out of the backfield and he did that in one year with Wheatly and his other offensive coach Fisch. Again we are very very excited to see your son tire out linebackers from tackling him and chasing after him, mark my words.

lcdavis

July 14th, 2016 at 10:43 AM ^

No...I thought I was replying to wahooverine comment.  Mark Ingram was the man at Alabama and it would be fitting for Kingston to excel at Michigan and get to showcase his abilities against the Mighty University of Alabama.  I have a closet full of Alabama gear collecting DUSK.   :-).... My co-workers call me “The Michigan Dad".  Thank you very much for your well wishes….  Go Blue !!