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October 4, 2013

Drew Davis makes memorable debut



Raleigh, N.C., native Drew Davis, a redshirt freshman defensive end, had a college football debut last Saturday that he will never forget. After fifth-year senior defensive ends Darryl Cato-Bishop and Forrest West were unable to play against Central Michigan, Davis was moved up from linebacker to put his hand on the ground early in the week of practice.

It was a new position for the 6-foot-3, 232-pounder, who also played linebacker at Broughton High, which is located just five miles away from Carter-Finley Stadium. After less than a week of practice at defensive end, Davis logged the first 34 snaps of his collegiate career and finished with four tackles, including two for loss, and a pass breakup. He was awarded with Defensive Player of the Week honors from the coaching staff.

"They had told me earlier in the week that I should be getting in quite a bit, so I was prepared for it," he said. "It was a dream come true. That's what every kid wants to do since they're little. It was an amazing feeling and I thank God for being able to do it."

Since Davis had not even played special teams in his career yet, he admitted he was nervous and rusty at first. However, he settled in quickly, despite the drastic changes from the usual position.

"It was different, a lot less room to move around, but I felt O.K.," he said. "After a couple of plays, I felt better and settled in. It was fun. It felt great to be out there, especially in front of my hometown.

"I think I have a lot to work on, especially my stance. I know a lot of people were picking on me about that after the game. Like I said, it felt good to shake the rust off, get out there and play again, but I know I have a lot to work on."

With Cato-Bishop out for this weekend's game against Wake Forest, Davis could play a role again on the defensive line Saturday. He said he feels more comfortable at his new home by the day and is looking forward to making strides every day.

"I'm getting a lot more comfortable," he said. "Coach [Ryan] Nielsen is a great coach and he's working me hard. He has gotten my technique a lot better and I can see a big improvement from what he's been teaching me."

Davis noted the two toughest adjustments are his new stance with his hand on the ground and the keys he must read at defensive end. He did say it helped that he already knew the defensive end's assignments when he was at linebacker, now it's just putting those reads into action on the game field.

"It's different for me, but I'm in film all of the time," he said. "It has been tough, but I'm getting the hang of it."


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