Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. HomeTeam

Sweet 16? Ryan Davis likely to become latest NFL draft pick from Lakewood

Pinellas County’s all-time leading passer set receiving records at Auburn and is projected to be a late-round pick.
Auburn wide receiver Ryan Davis runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Published Apr. 18
Updated Apr. 18

Lakewood High has never been extremely dominant outside of Pinellas County in football. Since the school opened in 1966, the Spartans have played in a state semifinal just once.

But the school sure does churn out NFL players.

Overall, there have been 15 players drafted. In 2018, Lakewood and Serra High (San Diego, Calif.) were the only schools in the country to have three drafted in one year.

Offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn (Georgia) was a first-round pick of the Patriots. Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (USF) was picked in the fifth round by the Packers. And cornerback Shaquem Griffin (UCF) was a fifth-round pick by the Seahawks.

Lakewood could add to that list this year.

Ryan Davis played quarterback in his junior and senior years at Lakewood. Including his first two years at Northeast, he set the Pinellas County career passing record (6,760 yards). He went to Auburn as a receiver. After four years he became the school’s all-time receptions leader (178).

RELATED: Ryan Davis home for college finale in Shrine Game

Davis, who at 5-foot-10, 186 pounds is projected to be a late-round pick, believes he answered most questions NFL teams may have.

“I just feel like I showed a lot of the stuff I’m capable of doing in NFL systems,” Davis said at the NFL combine less than a month ago. “There was a lot of things at Auburn that I wasn’t able to showcase.

“Just a lot of my route running ability. I was kind of asked to do certain things, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t capable of those things but me being a team player, I was doing what I was asked to do. I feel like teams are not so worried about how I’m going to translate to the NFL.”

Ryan Davis gets a hug from his grandmother, Emma Davis, on national signing day in 2015. Davis announced that he would attend Auburn University. (SCOTT KEELER | Times)

As the draft nears, Davis is back in St. Petersburg and working out at Lakewood. His former coach, Cory Moore, remembers Davis’ work ethic when he was in high school. And it hasn’t changed.

“He’s the one who kept me working long hours,” Moore said. “He’d be out there still working long after practice. When he left then I left. Those were some long days.”

At Auburn, Davis got most of his playing time in his junior and senior years. His role was as a slot receiver, catching short-route balls and using his speed to gain extra yards.

One of the knocks on Davis was his ability to catch the long ball.

“I kind of knew (deep routes) was something that people haven’t seen,” Davis said. “People are going to go by what they’ve seen and you can’t blame the tape, but I felt like the East-West Shrine Game I was able to do so, by going out there and showing I could run routes and do different things, that I can win on the outside, that I could run different route trees and stuff like that, with me being limited at Auburn. I just feel like that platform allowed me to answer those questions.”

Moore said there was no question Davis could play receiver. And he doesn’t question his ability to do so in the NFL. The only reason he played quarterback at Lakewood was because he was too good of an athlete.

“He could play receiver for sure,” Moore said. “But if we were going to win, we needed the ball in his hands. But I think by him playing quarterback it made him a better receiver. He can play the position from a quarterback’s perspective.”

NFL draft

TV: ABC, ESPN, NFL Network

Round 1: 8 p.m. April 25

Rounds 2-3: 7 p.m. April 26

Rounds 4-7: Noon April 27

Times correspondent Robby General Jr. contributed to this report.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Carrollwood Day's Haley Brown leads Tampa Bay in kills with 167. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    Players from Carrollwood Day, Calvary Christian, Central and Berkeley Prep claim top spots.
  2. Riverview quarterback Stazion Gage has accounted for almost 1,000 total yards and 10 touchdowns this season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The Sharks are on the cusp of securing their first winning season in more than a decade.
  3. Alexandra Postlethwaite helps dish out the assists for Bishop McLaughlin. ALICE HERDEN  |  Special to the Times
    Not much change at the top, but plenty of movement in the lower half of this week’s rankings
  4. Clearwater Academy International's Ajou Ajou makes a reception while working through a passing drill in April. CAI faces American Collegiate on Friday. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    One of the area’s top volleyball tournaments, the Berkeley Premier, also starts this weekend.
  5. Armwood's Charles Montgomery runs the ball during the first half against Plant on Aug. 23, 2019, in Seffner. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    There is plenty of movement except at the top, where Armwood remains No. 1
  6. The Pinellas Park Patriots take to the field moments after the end of the fourth quarter against Mitchell on Friday night. The Patriots won 29-19. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    PSA to opposing offenses facing Lakewood this season: Good night and good luck.
  7. Warming up before the game Saturday night, USF redshirt freshman Jordan McCloud, a Plant High alum, got his first start as a college quarterback. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The former Panther gets the nod over Blake Barnett against South Carolina State.
  8. Football teams across Tampa Bay were in action Friday night. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The Packers notch a third straight win in the series and more importantly, gain an edge in the district.
  9. Football teams across Tampa Bay were in action Friday night. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A veteran squad continues to deliver the wins for the Warriors, who are currently 4-0.
  10. Football teams across Tampa Bay were in action Friday night. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The Marauders only need one dominant half to get back to .500 on the season.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement