The Next Shannon Sharpe

When it comes time for a high school football player to move on to the college game, it is usually necessary for him to decide upon one position that he is going to pursue wholly, rather than the various roles that come with the high school game. For Vernon Davis, that decision will come a year early as he heads into his senior season at Washington (D.C.) Dunbar. Davis, who has played many different offensive positions during his career at Dunbar, has decided to concentrate on being a tight end.
Davis, whose 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame puts him at just the right size for a high school tight end, split time between that spot and wide receiver while playing on offense as a junior. He also checks in as a free safety on defense and projects as a linebacker if needed on that side of the ball in college. Despite impressive play from whatever position he occupies, Davis is truly set on playing the position he is built for at the next level.
“I just feel I can do better at tight end,” said Davis, who made 35 catches last season, accumulating 375 yards and 10 touchdowns. On the flip side, the young man from the nation’s capital made 65 tackles as a free safety and picked off opposing quarterbacks six times while lining up on the defensive side of the ball. However, Davis is such a terrific football prospect that most teams have told him he can choose his position in college. That position is tight end.
A big reason for why Davis is inclined to continue in the more underrated role of tight end is because of the pro player he says was his favorite to watch while growing up. That player is 12-year NFL veteran, Denver Bronco Shannon Sharpe, who was the tight end for the Baltimore Ravens for two years before returning to the team he was a member of for 10 years.
“I always liked him,” said Davis, “The way he played, I can see myself being like him.”
Considered to be one of the top players in the Washington, D.C. area, if not the best, Davis is looking to stay close to home if at all possible. The University of Maryland, just a short drive up the road from the nation’s capital, is at the top of Davis’s list. However, he is considering other schools on the east coast, mostly within the Big East or ACC, such as Syracuse, Virginia or Florida State. Some bigger programs, such as Florida, Virginia Tech, Miami and Notre Dame have also made him scholarship offers.
Despite the prestige that the Gators, Seminoles, Irish, Orangemen and others bring to the table, Davis is more focused on just playing football than playing for a big name school.
“I’d rather go to a school where I know I can get in and maybe start in a year,” said Davis.
Perhaps Vernon’s biggest asset on the football field is his above-average speed for a tight end. Despite his size he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, which helps him as a receiving tight end and makes it very difficult for linebackers to stay with him.
With one more year of high school left, Davis will look to fine-tune the skills that will make him a college-level receiving tight end. The skills that he has now can be attributed to an early start, as Davis has been playing football since he was young, partaking in Pee-Wee football to begin his career.
In recent years, it has been harder and harder to find good, young tight ends, as a result of the popularity of positions such as quarterback or wide receiver and the need for talented linebackers. Therefore, when a great one comes along, teams tend to congregate. Davis, with good speed, size and hands, will garner more and more attention as the recruiting year moves forward.