At this time last year, Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis still was considered a work in progress.
The Detroit native hadn’t started a game for the Hawkeyes and he finished with just six solo tackles and eight assisted tackles as a sophomore in 2012. His performance still hadn’t matched his potential.
Davis now enters his senior season as the second best senior defensive tackle in college football, according to NFL draft expert Mel Kiper. The ranking comes on the heels of a junior season in which Davis had a breakout performance, earning second-team all-Big Ten accolades.
The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder was a key piece to an Iowa defense that only surrendered eight rushing touchdowns in 13 games. Davis started all 13 games and finished with 42 tackles, including four behind the line of scrimmage, and 1 ½ sacks.
“I’m just trying to play my role and do what I have to do to make plays for my team,” Davis said during spring practice in April. “I want to be a clutch player and be able to help my team get off the field.”
Ohio State senior Michael Bennett is ranked first on Kiper’s list of the five best senior defensive tackles. Washington senior Danny Shelton is ranked third on the list followed by Clemson’s Grady Jarrett and Fresno State’s Tyeler Davison at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
Davis also was projected as the 11th pick overall in a 2015 NFL mock draft by Sports Illustrated.com. Iowa senior offensive left tackle Brandon Scherff was projected as the fifth pick overall in the same mock draft.