HOOVER, Ala. -- Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis enters 2016 as one of the elite linebackers in college football and, as a senior, a highly regarded prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft.
However, he's not without flaws in his game, and the one concern noted by NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein -- in ranking Davis the top linebacker in college football -- didn't go unnoticed by the Gators star.
Zierlein wrote: "One area of concern for Davis is his inconsistency as a tackler. Davis' speed and aggressiveness have to be harnessed when he's on the move and he has to cover ground with more patience to avoid overrunning potential tackles."
But rather than take offense to criticism or dismiss it as invalid, Davis said at SEC Media Days on Monday that he did just the opposite.
"That was a real statement someone made about me this offseason, and something that really kind of shocked me a little bit. When I'm on the field, it's like, 'See ball, hit ball.' I went back and looked at tape and tried to take into account what they were saying, and realized I'm going to the ball with such a tenacious mindset that I do overrun a lot of plays," Davis said when asked about the tendency. "I do miss a lot of tackles because I'm out of control."
Under first-year defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, Davis enjoyed a breakout junior season last fall with 98 tackles, including 11 for losses and 3.5 sacks. In doing so, he anchored the NCAA's eighth-ranked defense that featured five 2016 NFL Draft choices. But Davis doesn't deny there is room for improvement, and playing under more control is his focus.
"This offseason I've been working on having the same speed and mindset to the ball, but once I get to the ball, it needs to be a controlled burst, a controlled explosion through the ball carrier," Davis said.
As a preseason All-SEC pick, and with aspirations of being the first linebacker drafted next year, it would be easy enough for Davis to simply ignore any criticism.
Instead, he's not only heard it, but embraced it.