GAINESVILLE — After back-to-back season-ending injuries, Florida running back Malik Davis is continuing to make progress that could have Hillsborough County’s all-time leading rusher primed for a big junior season.
“He’s gotten a lot smarter, and he’s playing much faster, and he’s playing better,” Gators running backs coach Greg Knox said. “That’s the key for him. The smarter he is, the better player he’ll be. He’s playing without thinking, so he’s playing very fast right now. I like that.”
Davis, the former Jesuit High star, has been limited to 10 games in his first two seasons because of a knee injury (2017) and a broken foot (2018). Davis began to feel like himself again during spring practice and has recovered mentally.
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“It wasn’t like I did something wrong …” Davis said during UF’s media day. “It would have happened, no matter who it was.”
With the injuries behind him, Davis and the Gators are moving ahead. Although Lamical Perine headlines UF’s backfield, Davis will still be a key part of the rotation.
“I’m excited about his progress,” Knox said. “He’s healthy. I think his body’s stronger. He’s in great shape, so I’m excited to see what he does as we enter the season.”
A couple quick notes on other Tampa Bay products at UF:
Freshman offensive lineman Ethan White has dropped from 393 pounds to 337 since enrolling early. The Clearwater native saw some time with the first-team offensive line during Monday’s scrimmage.
“To me he does a great job learning,” co-offensive coordinator John Hevesy said. “He knows everything. It’s not an issue of assignments and those things. It’s just learning the little things of the assignments and techniques and variety of things being thrown at him that all of those young guys are compounding now.”
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Hillsborough High alumnus Zachary Carter continues to make strides as he prepares for his redshirt junior season. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said the 6-foot-4, 277-pound Carter is working “to become a complete defensive lineman” who can play inside or outside.
“He’s got a good frame, got good length,” Grantham said. “He’s physical. He has the ability to make range plays, meaning that when the ball is not really in his gap he can escape, shed and get to the ball, so he has range. Because of his athletic ability, when he gets one-on-one in pass rush he can give you some production, that way both as an edge guy and inside guy, and he’s a guy that really you see taking off relative to last year, meaning he’s really improved his craft. And I’m looking forward to him playing a lot of snaps for us and competing.”
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