Another DeAndre McDaniel could be on his way to Clemson

by - Senior Writer -

Former Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel roamed the defensive backfield of Amos Godby High School in Tallahassee, Florida, long before he was a Clemson Tiger.

His trademark No. 2 jersey was all over the field, making play after play, and he was ranked as the No. 6 safety in the nation coming out of high school.

McDaniel turned that talent into an All-American career at Clemson, and is currently in Florida working out as he prepares for what should be an NFL career.

Now, however, there is defensive back who wears No. 2 that is delivering punishing hits on opposing receivers and ball carriers for the Cougars, and his name is T.J. Davis.
Davis wore No. 13 before last season, when he learned that Godby would be retiring McDaniel’s No. 2 and he called the Clemson safety for permission to wear the number for the remainder of his high school career.

“They were retiring my number, and the coaches down there called me about T.J.,” McDaniel told TigerNet. “Then T.J. called me and asked if he could wear it, and I said yes. He is going to be a great player.”

Godby head coach Ronnie Cottrell says that Davis reminds him a lot of McDaniel.

“He is very much in the mold of DeAndre,” Cottrell said. “He is a track athlete who is also physical. They think that this year he can break 14 flat in 110 high hurdles. He is that bigger, taller corner-safety like those [college coaches] are looking for. He has measurables off the chart, and his upside is huge. He is just going to get better and better.”

The Tigers and Davis’ recruiter of record, Jeff Scott, were one of the first schools to offer Davis, a 6-1, 175-pounder who likes to play physical. He also has offers from the likes of Alabama, Miami, Florida St., Auburn, LSU and Ohio St. He will visit Alabama this weekend.

“I have been a recruiting coordinator on the collegiate level, and T.J. is the entire package,” said Cottrell, who was on the same staff with Dabo Swinney and Charlie Harbison at Alabama. “He is a great student, has a tremendous work ethic and comes from a great family. Whoever is getting him is getting somebody special.”

Davis’ defensive coordinator at Godby, Brian Williams, said part of what makes Davis special is his desire to compete.

“He is a very high-character kid, but he also has those tremendous football skills,” Williams said. “He is just one of those guys who loves football and he loves to compete. He kind of sets the tone for us defensively around here, especially in the weight room. He is one of those guys who loves to lift weights; he is not one of those track guys that shies away from it. “

Williams said that unlike McDaniel, who moved between linebacker and safety at Clemson, Davis will be a cornerback on the next level.

“In terms of just being a talent, I think T.J. is more of an island-type cover guy,” Williams said. “He excels in playing man-to-man coverage, and he has great ball skills. Those are the things that jump out at you when you watch him. And he is physical as well, and his size and speed allow him to do those things extremely well.”

Williams said Davis was born with a special skill set.

“His footwork is just God-given,” he said. “He has that ability to get in and out of cuts and break on balls and just get his body in position to do things that make you say ‘wow.’ He is really starting to grasp the concept of baiting quarterbacks to throw the ball in his area, and that is a testament to his maturity on the field and being comfortable in what he is doing. His future is tremendous, and his talent level is up there with the best of them. He can be the next DeAndre McDaniel.”

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