Vontae Davis #23 CB
Height: 5-11 Weight: 204 Age: 25
Born: 5/27/1988 Washington , DC
Experience: 5th season
High School: Dunbar HS [Washington, DC]
Selected By: Miami Dolphins
Pick (Overall): 25 (25)
With tight end Vernon Davis the sixth overall selection by San Francisco in 2006, his younger brother, Vontae, could be joining him shortly as a first-round pick. That means 2009 could mark the first time the two brothers will compete vs. each other in an organized football game.
The Fighting Illini cornerback was the cornerstone for Illinois returning to the postseason in his sophomore year. Much like Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins, Davis is one of the most physical pass defenders in the collegiate game. A little more of a gambler than Jenkins, Davis has been known for coming up for the spectacular play in crunch time situations.
In 36 games at Illinois, Davis was responsible for the opposition turning the ball over 12 times and has also delivered 13.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Unlike most cornerbacks, the Illini junior has provided the team with a dominant force vs. the running game, as six of his seven stops for loss in 2008 came inside the red zone. Of his 78 tackles that season, 23 came on third-down plays, with two others on fourth-down action.
At powerhouse Dunbar High School, Davis was a Prep Star All-American and Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year. He was named to the Washington Post All-Metro team, in addition to picking up DCIAA West first-team All-Conference honors. He was rated the top recruit in the Washington D.C. area by Rivals.com, and received a three-star recruit ranking by Rivals.com and Scout.com.
Davis had eight interceptions and 38 solo tackles as a senior. He also added 25 receptions for 612 yards and recorded more than 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2005. He led Dunbar High to a 9-2 record and defeated Coolidge in the Turkey Bowl, the DCIAA city championship game.
The third-fastest defensive back at the State College NIKE camp, Davis chose Illinois over Maryland, Michigan State and Virginia. He was a consensus Freshman All-American first-team pick in 2006, adding All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention and team Rookie of the Year honors. In his first collegiate season, he started all but the Ohio State contest at strong-side cornerback. He ranked sixth on the squad with 52 tackles (30 solos), as he picked off one pass and deflected six others.
As a sophomore, Davis was named All-Big Ten Conference first-team. He was the only sophomore selected a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. He started 12 games at right cornerback, missing the Northwestern clash and three quarters of the Ohio State contest after suffering a concussion. He still managed to finish fourth on the team with 76 tackles (56 solos) that included four stops for loss. He deflected eight passes and intercepted four others. On special teams, he averaged 29.0 yards on four kickoff returns and blocked two punts, returning one for a touchdown.
Davis was a Playboy All-American selection in 2008, adding All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors, as he was again a Thorpe Award semifinalist. He started 11 games, coming off the bench vs. Iowa, as he placed second on the squad with 78 tackles (53 solos) and seven stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused three fumbles and recovered another while breaking up eight passes to go with a pair of interceptions. He also averaged 19.8 yards on five kickoff returns.