Better Know a Buckeye: Wayne Davis

By Vico on May 6, 2016 at 10:10 am
Wayne Davis and Kerry Coombs at a Cracker Barrel because that's awesome

Our "Better Know a Buckeye" series continues with its 13th installment. We profile Wayne Davis, a defensive back from Norfolk, Virginia.

Wayne Davis

  • Size: 5-11/187
  • Position: CB
  • (Hometown) School: Norfolk, VA (Lake Taylor)
  • 247 Composite: ★★★★
  • National Ranking: 330
  • Position Ranking: 33 (CB)
  • State Ranking: 6 (VA)
  • Parade All-American
  • Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year
  • Virginia-Pilot's All-Tidewater Player of the Year

Wayne Davis is not a name many Ohio State fans recognize from this recruiting class, but he is among its most accomplished members. His Lake Taylor program in Norfolk won two state championships for his four years there and Davis even ended his high school career as a Parade All-American and the state's player of the year. Those in the know about Ohio State recruiting are optimistic about a Virginia prospect that chose Ohio State over Virginia Tech's tradition at defensive back.

I retell his recruitment below and the reasons why Davis chose Ohio State. Thereafter, I provide a scouting report for Davis and follow it with a projection of a redshirt in 2016. I close with highlight film for the reader to watch and enjoy.


Those that follow Virginia prep football recognize the Lake Taylor Titans in Norfolk as arguably the best high school football program in the state. Lake Taylor routinely makes deep playoff runs. It won a state championship in 2012, made the 4A quarterfinals in 2013, won the state championship in 2014, and lost in the state championship game in 2015. Its best players attract attention as a result. Ohio State fans should recognize this program as responsible for Jalyn Holmes, who signed with the Buckeyes in 2014 and is now Ohio State's starting weakside defensive end.

Wayne Davis was next in line for major program attraction after Holmes signed with the Buckeyes in February 2014. Davis ended his sophomore year in the spring of 2014 with offers from Clemson, Louisville, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Ohio State threw its hat into the ring on May 6. Davis' recruitment was still in its infancy but he already had an impressive offer sheet from which to choose.

Davis' visit to Ohio State for the Cincinnati game was the only noteworthy event during a recruitment idled during the 2014 season. Davis did not belabor this visit with recruiting outlets, though he said he enjoyed it and his interactions with Kerry Coombs and Zach Smith. He did pick up a few offers in the fall, Duke the prominent among them, but Davis did not invest much time in his recruitment while the season was ongoing. He also thought it was too early to name leaders even if he gave impressions he was particularly keen for Ohio State.

His recruitment picked up steam in the winter of 2015 with a slew of offers from major programs across the country, including Auburn, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, and Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech was clearly the most important of these offers. The Hokies have long held an allure to DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia) prospects given its success placing players into the NFL, especially at the defensive back position. Davis expressed a strong interest in the Hokies for it.

Davis was reticent to name leaders in the spring of 2015 but express interest in taking visits. He also wanted to see Michigan. The Wolverines had taken a strong interest in him and he wanted to requite that with a visit to Ann Arbor.

He finally arrived in Blacksburg for an unofficial visit during Virginia Tech's spring game. Frank Beamer's staff rolled out the proverbial red carpet for him. He got a lot of one-on-one attention from the coaches, including Frank Beamer and Bud Foster. Kendall Fuller and Kyle Fuller also tried to sell him on the Hokies' tradition at defensive back.

A two-team battle between Ohio State and Virginia Tech emerged during the early summer when it became apparent to Davis he would commit in the summer rather than on signing day after his senior season. The abbreviated timeline meant Davis dropped Michigan from consideration.

Analysts expected it would be a battle between Ohio State and Virginia Tech for Wayne Davis even if Davis himself was rather mum about his recruitment, all things considered. Davis kept a low profile after he whittled his list to these two programs. However, crystal ball projections gradually broke for Ohio State as the weeks progressed. These projections were vindicated when Davis announced his decision in early July.


Wayne Davis announced he would be the 13th member of Ohio State's 2016 recruiting class when he broke the news on Twitter.

He clarified the reasons for Ohio State in an interview with 247sports. He noted the visit for the Cincinnati game was his first impression of Ohio State and that it resonated long afterward. He noted the stadium was electric for that game and that the players had a great interaction among each other. That impression resonated even after the Hokies emerged in his recruitment as the major competition.

He talked over his recruitment with his uncle before deciding to pull the trigger on that day.


Davis' is a four-star prospect, but the lowest-rated of the four-star prospects in Ohio State's star-studded 2016 recruiting class. He is four spots below the median recruit (Luke Farrell). Do not let those statistics distort the promise Wayne Davis has for Ohio State's backfield.

He might be the purest cornerback prospect Ohio State signed in 2016. A source close to Ohio State recruiting told Eleven Warriors that he has the ideal hip swivel and quick feet to play cornerback at a program like Ohio State. He's technically sound at the position, which is why Lake Taylor felt comfortable keeping him on an island to himself in man coverage while the Lake Taylor Titans defense put as many nine players in the box to defend the run.

Recruiting services list him at 5-11, which is average height for the position. However, he possesses long arms to help him in coverage.

I might be most impressed with how he runs with the ball in his hands after an interception or recovered fumble. Davis has a good wide receiver's mentality as a defensive back, one such reason he was an integral part of Lake Taylor's offense as well.

Our source close to Ohio State football also mentioned that Davis has the right competitive mentality to thrive at Ohio State.

"He's a Grinder, has high character and has a real desire to be great," the source close to Davis said. "That's why he picked Ohio State, he knew the Buckeyes were going to maximize him and give him the tools and platform to work to become great. He's a dog. He's competitive as (expletive)."


Davis has fine speed at cornerback, but he is not a burner. He may not turn heads with his ability to recover ground lost to a wide receiver. This is my view, at least, thought I have read reports that accentuate his closing speed.

He is also physical and quite strong at cornerback, but surprisingly does not jam receivers well. This is true even if the reader can see a pretty nasty stiff-arm in his highlight film at the end of the feature.

Finally, Davis has average size at the cornerback and is even a willing tackler in run support. However, I don't think it's a strength and I think Felder is better in run support than Davis.


I like Wayne Davis' ability to crack the two-deep in his second year even if there are openings this year. That defensive backfield will be quickly crowded, though. Davis is the ideal player for special teams, but the extent to which I think that is his only path to the field in 2016 means I'm erring on a projection of a redshirt this year.



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