South Pittsburg's Gio Davis talks Vols
As Tennessee continues to evaluate in-state talent across the 2022 class, South Pittsburg’s Giovanni Davis will be prospect on the radar.
The Vols initially offered the 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive lineman back in November as the Tigers were gearing up for a playoff run.
“I was shocked, actually, when they offered me,” Davis remembered. “They had followed me, so I knew they were watching – but we hadn’t really talked. But I got the call and they said they liked my film and how I progressed throughout the season.
“Then they offered me.”
Then Tennessee assistant Brian Niedermeyer was on the other end of the phone.
“They really liked my aggressiveness and my character,” Davis said as to why he got an offer. “They liked how I play the game."
Tennessee's new staff likes the same characteristics in the Volunteer State native as Josh Heupel has been in contact several times in the past month.
""I think he's a good coach and I know he's a good person. We've talked a lot the past few weeks," Davis said of the Vols' new boss. "He's telling me to keep grinding and that the weight room is my best friend."
Davis has been termed as a ‘big-skill’ as he’s routinely played wide receiver, tight end and lined up in the backfield on offense in the past. Aside from playing his normal defensive line duties, Davis has also played linebacker.
But now, the 2022 prospect has settled in on both lines of scrimmage and is getting looks for his defensive play making abilities.
“I’ve always been a bigger guy – always bigger than everyone else,” Davis told Volquest. “I’ve always played the defensive line, but have also played linebacker, wideout and fullback in the past. It’s weird because this past season was my first year not being a skilled player of some sorts.
“I played offensive tackle for the first time.”
Tennessee defensive line coach Rodney Garner likes the fact that Davis is an athlete.
"Coach said he likes my attributes and how I have a good blend of size and speed. He said I have good hands and likes how quick I am off the ball," the prospect said. "With my background, I am very versatile on the line.
"Coach Garner said I could still play the three-technique because I have the arm length but I could also play defensive end because I have the speed and patience."
In 2020, the Tennessee native garnered 1-A all-state honors from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association after leading the team in tackles for loss and fumble recoveries in the 4-3 scheme. Davis also scored twice on defense for the state runner-up squad.
“Some teams are looking at me for different spots and techniques, but I can play the whole defensive line,” Davis said. “Some schools just prefer me where they have a need.
“I’m ultimately looking for a place that I can call home. I’m looking for good coaches, too.”
With in-person recruiting on hold for much of the past calendar year, Davis hasn’t traveled anywhere to see games, facilities or stadiums. However, the defensive lineman did tour UT’s weight and film rooms about four years ago when he played in an all-star showcase game.
With Tennessee, Ole Miss and Arizona State already aboard, Davis’s offer list will grow over the offseason. The Vols will continue to evaluate him over the winter months and into his senior year before the prospect makes a final decision.
“I haven’t given it much thought right now,” Davis concluded. “But I’ll probably commit sometime during or after my senior year.”