April 1, 2008

Davenport has Rebels in top 10

Mansfield, La., four-star defensive tackle Chris Davenport isn't sure what his travel plans are for the next two weeks.

He has talked about going to LSU for the Tigers' spring game and he's talked about making the trip to Oxford either for the Rebels' third junior day Saturday or next weekend for the annual Grove Bowl game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

"As of right now, I don't know," Davenport said. "Me and my coach have been talking about it, so we'll see. I'm trying to decide. I want to go to some junior days, but my schedule is full."

Davenport, a 6-foot-3, 320-pounder, said Ole Miss is definitely in his top 10, along with (in the order he named them) Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Tennessee, Michigan, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, LSU and USC. All 10 of Davenport's favorites have offered.

"I never expected it to get this big," Davenport said. "It's all taken me by surprise. I'm just striving to be a better player and a better student-athlete."

Davenport's emergence as an elite-level prospect has not surprised Mansfield coach Donald Mayweather.

"He's just one of those players," Mayweather said. "He shows a lot of aggressiveness. He's going to be disciplined and do what he's told. He won't give up until the play's over with. He's one of those rare big guys who goes through agility drills like a skill player."

Players of that caliber and size are rare, so it should come as no surprise that several programs are pushing Davenport to commit to them now and serve as a centerpiece of a recruiting class. Unless something changes, that's not going to happen.

"Truly, it's going to be late October before I decide where I want to go to school," Davenport said. "I'm going to take all my visits in the fall and decide from there."

Ole Miss appears to be in good shape in landing one of those visits. Ole Miss assistant coach Ron Dickerson Jr., is recruiting Davenport for the Rebels, and while Davenport has yet to meet the new Ole Miss staff, he's eager to do so for a couple of reasons. First, Davenport hears plenty about Ole Miss from Mansfield defensive back coach Steven Stroud, whose father once coached at Ole Miss. Secondly, Davenport traveled to Oxford last fall to take in one of the Rebels' games.

"I liked it," Davenport said. "It's a quiet town, sort of off by itself. It's kind of similar to my hometown. I liked the people. They're kind of friendly and down to earth."

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