Friday night marks the beginning of the playoffs in Louisiana and Mansfield, La. defensive tackle Chris Davenport can't wait to get going. That's good news for his Mansfield teammates but his Westminster High School opponents may be less than enthusiastic. At 6-foot-3, 320 pounds, Davenport has been a force on both sides of the line for his class 2A squad, and his early offer sheet shows it.
"We're getting ready to play a team called Westminster," Davenport said of his Friday night opening round playoff game. "The defense just plans to go out there and dominate and blow them off the ball. If we blow them off the ball and stop the run then they'll have to go to the pass and their strength is not the pass, it's the run game."
Davenport is the anchor of his team's defense in the middle and takes his disruptive role very seriously.
"If I come out with a lot of intensity, and come off the snap of the ball and hit them in the mouth they'll follow my lead," he said. "I'm the leader on the defensive side and when they see me going hard everyone else will be going hard too."
At his size, Davenport is a crucial piece of the puzzle on offense as well as defense for Mansfield, and he has gotten used to his two-way duties.
"The first week it was a little difficult because I had been slacking a little and I hadn't been running," he said. "But as the season progressed I was working harder and harder and now it's a piece of cake going both ways and I don't even think about it.
"I like defense, but with me having to go both ways, I'm starting to develop a love for offense too," he said. "But I like defense better. I like to dish out the licks not take them."
As a defensive tackle, Davenport is a unique specimen. He has an athleticism that is rare for a player of his size and he recognizes his strengths.
"Most defensive tackles are not as athletic as I am," he said. "I've got the range to do a lot of things. Whatever type of player they need, I can be. I can play nose tackle, I can play d end. Any position I can play it. There's no position I can't play."
That versatility and talent hasn't been lost on college coaches. Davenport already has three big offers in his hands and two clear favorites.
"Boston College, Ole Miss and LSU have all offered me," he said.
"I haven't been to BC up there to the university, but it seems like a nice place," he said. "The recruiter I talked to he sounded down to earth and it sounded like a nice place to play. And from the looks of it on TV that program is really on the rise.
"Ole Miss, I haven't been there yet," he said. "I'm going there next Saturday though so I can tell you more about them after that."
Out of the three early offers, LSU is clearly the school that sticks out the most for Davenport.
"They offered me when I was there at camp my sophomore year," he said. "Then the letter came this fall. At LSU, people down there are real nice. Coaches down there are real down to earth and everything."
Davenport has been a fan of LSU since childhood and dreamed of being a Tiger so the news of an offer was exciting for him. However, one school that has yet to offer that he is keeping his eye on is Alabama.
"I went over to Alabama last weekend," he said. "Alabama's a real nice place. The people down there are down to earth. I just want to be in a place where I feel comfortable and feel at home. That's what my decision is going to come down to."
Davenport is also looking at more than just what is happening on the field.
"It's going to come down to where I feel comfortable not just with my athletic ability but where I can excel academically," he said. "Football is a game where all it takes is one play and you're done."
So with those factors in mind, Davenport has established two schools as early favorites.
"LSU and Alabama," he said. "Those are my main two right now."