I so desperately wanted to make Chris Davenport a headliner, but I think ultimately I have to make him a solid player instead. Davenport is a huge 6'4" 323# defensive tackle out of tiny Mansfield High School in Mansfield, Louisiana. He was a 5-star on both Rivals and Scout, and he was a big pickup for the Tigers. He's a very likable young man, and he was all-LSU from the beginning of his recruitment.
Davenport certainly has the tools. He is huge, and strong, and has good quickness at his size. He may not be a mountain like the one they have in Tuscaloosa, but he is at least a rolling hill. Physically, he could end up being the perfect 4-3 defensive tackle, or perhaps a 3-4 nose tackle.
So why not give a 5-star his due? I just have too many misgivings about it. Davenport comes from a very small program; Mansfield is a 2A school. It was not a very good team. In Davenport's junior year, they were 6-5. In his senior year they were 1-9. He was playing in a not-very-good division and you just don't know how good the instruction around him was. To add to the uncertainty, Davenport lost most of his senior year when he tore a meniscus. He returned to action in time to participate in the U.S. Army All-America Game, but was not 100% healthy and was not really in proper shape, and therefore was not that effective.
I will say that the coaches reportedly love this kid, and think he is going to be a total stud. He has gotten healthy and is in good game shape and ready to go. He is reportedly a physical specimen, with as high an upside as we've seen in a defensive tackle since we signed Glenn Dorsey. His videos show a raw talent, and he definitely has the upside of a 5-star. You just have to wonder if maybe he needs more coaching before he's really ready to contribute. I definitely think I'm taking a minority position. He could well end up being an immediate contributor, especially in light of the fact that there is so little depth at defensive tackle right now.
Some YouTube highlights after the jump.