By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala - One of Auburn’s deepest positions, defensive line, is now even deeper with the early arrival of freshman Marlon Davidson.
The 6-3, 281-pound end enrolled in January, maximizing his opportunity with a strong showing in spring practice.
“It felt great to be out there with my brothers,” Davidson said. “I feel comfortable playing here at Auburn. Coach G (Defensive Line Coach Rodney Garner) has gotten me mentally prepared, and physically. And with Coach Steele’s defense, it’s great.”
“He’s had a very good spring,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “He’s a big, athletic guy.”
Davidson made four tackles in the first half of Auburn’s A-Day game, looking right at home playing alongside the Tigers’ defensive leaders.
Davidson’s work habits this spring have earned the respect of his fellow defensive linemen.
“That’s what I was just telling him in the locker room,” Adams said. “I was just praising him. By getting here early, he’ll be ahead of the game, so when it’s time to play, he should be ready.”
“He's practicing consistently every day and works hard to get better,” Lawson said before A-Day. “Consistency in a young guy is really hard to find, and that's what he's been able to do.”
“Marlon grew up really quick,” linebacker Tre’ Williams said. “Just coming in this spring, everybody was thinking he had a lot of growing up to do and had a lot of learning to do. But he did all that in a week or two, so that really surprised me.”
Davidson’s maturity impressed Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.
“He is a guy that's very physically, mentally and emotionally mature for a guy that should be going to his senior prom in the next week or so,” Steele said before A-Day. “If you'd watched it and didn't know, you'd think he'd been around for a couple of years and that's the biggest thing. Now, does he have a lot to learn? Absolutely. But he is physically, mentally and emotionally very mature and that helps him.”
Davidson, one of the highest-rated players in the country last year at Greenville High School, is making the most of his head start.
“It’s the mentality I came here with,” Davidson said. “The fact that I didn’t want to sit on the sideline my first year. So I came here early to get ahead to prosper in my technique and everything I do, on and off the field.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer