On the verge of his most important season, Dyshawn Davis was named to the Butkus Award Watch List yesterday. The award is handed out to the best linebacker in college football at the end of the season.
Davis is beginning his fourth and final year for the Orange in what has been a great collegiate career. The linebacker has been the anchor in the middle of the Syracuse defense. He has shined ever since his freshman campaign, and is most remembered for his vicious hit on Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison in 2011.
However, the New Jersey native has life after college on his radar. Davis is an NFL prospect that scouts will be monitoring all season. His path was derailed slightly last season when a high ankle sprain affected his play and forced him to sit out the Georgia Tech bashing of the Orange, but Davis rebounded nicely to finish with 49 tackles and 2.5 sacks on the year.
The linebacker position is probably going to be, yet again, the biggest strength of the Orange defense. Davis will return with Cam Lynch, who is coming off of a tremendous year; his 69 tackles were three more than Marquis Spruill, who was drafted in May. Additionally, the Fizz wrote in June how this could be a opportune time for Zaire Franklin to get some minutes if Josh Kirkland or Luke Arciniega were unable to play or perform.
There is no denying that Davis is one of the fastest Syracuse linebackers we have seen in a while. His speed is what drives his big hits against opponents. However, he will need to bulk up if he wants to be used as a linebacker in the NFL. As an undersized prospect, a team could try to convert him to a safety where he could utilize his hard-hitting nature.
Davis is not the only Orange player to be named to watch lists. Sean Hickey found his way onto the Outland Trophy Watch List, while Riley Dixon was named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List.
Even if none of the three players win the actual awards, the presence on the watch lists is a good confidence booster for the Orange going into a season filled with talented veterans.
Posted by: Zephan Mayell