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Defensive end Raekwon Davis becoming Alabama’s latest sack specialist

Jason Getz - USA TODAY Sports

From first glance, he is one of few players on this Alabama team that people simply would not want to pick a fight with.

Despite his sophomore classification, Raekwon Davis is grown man at 6-foot-8 and 306 pounds.

He was an imposing figure all of last season, but after strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran got his hands on him, Davis has put the media on notice. 

Carrying a freakish ability that started with Marcell Dareus and Terrence Cody, the unanimous four-star recruit from the Crimson Tide’s 2016 signing class is leading the team in sacks (6.5). 

Not even a bullet to his leg has been able to slow him down. Regardless of the incident that happened during the summer, Davis reintroduced his athleticism against Florida State to open the year – causing quarterback Deondre Francois to coward down in fear of his approach. 

While the win over the Seminoles was great for recruitment reasons, the highly-energetic defensive end hails from Meridian, Miss. Seeing how its 99 miles south of Starkville, Mississippi State was one of three schools that went after Davis, though, he chose to sign with Alabama. 

His first collegiate sack and tackle for loss came versus the Bulldogs in 2016 at Bryant-Denny Stadium, to help cap off a 51-3 dominant victory. With having seven tackles for loss and anchoring a unit that’s 10th nationally in sacks (29), Davis will be a marquee asset this week. 

Four different injuries at linebacker has Tide fans concerned about the pass rush, and the defense’s ability to not allow Nick Fitzgerald to have success on design runs.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said on Wednesday that it’s tough to coach injured players, but in having someone like Davis, he believes the mishaps provide no excuse from performing the standard.  

“I think Raekwon has developed more confidence in when he’s out there,” Saban said. 

“I think uncertainty in players creates apprehension in playing fast, getting off the ball fast. The more experience guys get, the more repetitions guys get, I think the more confident they get, and when he plays fast, he is a very effective player.” 

Davis has worked a number of pass rush moves into his repertoire, dating back to summer workouts and fall practice. After performing a simple bull rush, he will switch it up on offensive linemen with swim moves, rips/stunts inside, or come on a delayed blitz to the quarterback.  

“I’ve seen a big difference in the confidence that he has in pass rush as well as the confidence he has in doing his job,” Saban said. “I think he’s played better and better throughout the season and in all aspects of the game.” 

As he returns to his home state on Saturday, Davis anticipates a clutch outing.  

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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