Jawill Davis was Bethune Cookman’s leading receiver in 2017 and may be a late-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Recently, Underdog Dynasty’s Jonathan Willis caught up with Davis and asked him about some of his experiences at Bethune Cookman.
When did you first start playing football? When did you realize that you were good enough to play football at the next level?
I started playing football when I was eight years old. I realized I was pretty good when I hit high school, my 9th grade year, I was very talented and molded myself into a good player. I didn’t really know what I wanted to play. I played my 9th grade year, sat out my 10th grade year, and by 11th grade I was developed. I knew that I could make a living playing football, and provide for my family that way.
You sat out in 10th grade? Why was that?
I sat out in order to focus on school.
Did you have any specific moment that just stood out where you knew you were better than everybody else growing up?
Yes sir, my 11th grade year. It was spring ball, and it was the year that I first started playing receiver. In spring ball, I went against one of our highly recruited DBs. He was slated to go to the University of Miami. Scouts were out there, and it was a specific play I ran. It was a short route, a hitch route, and I took it for 70. I broke across the field, and I knew right then and there I was gifted with the ability to do that at receiver.
Who was the defensive back? Can you say?
His name was Larry Hope.
What was it like playing high school football in Miami?
It was great. Every game was competitive. Every player on every team had an edge to them because of where we’re from. It was just very fun and competitive. There was never a dull moment.
How did it feel to take on your hometown team, the Hurricanes, in your first game of the season?
It was wonderful. It felt great to be back home and to play in front of family and everything. I was hyped and juiced up to get a chance to play the first game of the season. I was just happy.
What type of mindset did you try to bring into every game?
Be aggressive. Play for my teammates. Do whatever needs to be done to help my team win, whether its blocking, catching the ball, helping out with my quarterback reading coverages, giving advice. Anything to help my team win. I’m all in.
You had some big performances this year. You finished with over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown against both Southeastern Louisiana and Morgan State, and you played a big part in Bethune-Cookman’s come from behind win over Florida A&M. Does any one moment, or game, stand out in particular?
There’s a couple. Southeastern Louisiana was after the Miami game. That game was really a statement game because we were dealing with the hurricane. I felt like I was playing not just for me and my team, and my family, but for the whole state of Florida. Because we were dealing with the hurricane coming, I felt like that was a statement game. We needed to get the win.
The Morgan State game was a Senior Day game, so it was bittersweet, very emotional. It felt real good to get the win and also have a great performance.
The Florida Classic is always a great game, and always highly emotional. It was my last Classic, so everything that I needed to do to help my team I did. Catching passes, making big plays, I was all in. It was just a great moment.
Is Bethune-Cookman having a pro day. If so, when is it?
Yes sir, our Pro Day is March 23. It will be in Daytona Beach at Municipal Stadium, so I’ve been preparing for that.
Have any NFL teams already contacted you or your agent?
When I played in my All-Star Game, at the Gridiron Bowl in Texas, I talked to a couple of teams there, like five or six teams. Recently, the Cardinals and the Patriots have contacted my offensive coordinator, and he relayed feedback to my agent about them.
What was your experience at the Gridiron Bowl like?
It was nice. I liked it, I liked how everything was set up. For us to talk to the agents, and not only that, but the information they gave to us. The feedback, financial-wise, things like how to stabilize your money and how to distribute it. They gave us great advice and motivation. When you get there, it was about how to stay motivated and keep your grind up. It was great talking to a lot of great people and former football players. It was a great experience.
It’s always great to play against other players from other places, players from big-time schools. It was a great experience.
How do you see yourself fitting in at the NFL level?
I see myself playing outside, inside, or special teams. Anywhere any team needs me, I’m there to do it. I’m an all-around player, not just a pass-catcher, but willing to play a big role in the blocking game, special teams, and as a returner. I see myself fitting in well. I love going downfield stretching the defense. I love running routes. Whatever it is a team needs from me, I’m in.
What do you like to do in your spare time? When you’re not playing football?
When I’m not playing football I like relaxing, curling back, watching television, talking to my family, talking to my daughter. When I have the time, I always FaceTime her, communicate with her and see what she’s doing. Do that for a couple of hours. Then, just relax. Relax my body. I might play a game here or there, but other than that, just relax. Nothing much.
Tell us something that you think is interesting or unique about you. What sets you apart from everybody else?
I love studying the game of football. I love reading stories on current football players and how they got into the league, how they study the game of football. I just try to take bits and pieces from each person’s game and their knowledge of the game. Not just the game, but how they are as people, and in life. I try to mold myself and build my image on what the top players do. Learn little pieces of what they do.
Who are some of the players that you look at in that regard? Who are some of your role models in that regard?
I love AB (Antonio Brown). I love his story and how he got to the league. I love how he was really underestimated coming out of college. A lot of teams weren’t too high on him. I see myself as in the same shoes as him in certain spots. I love his work ethic. He’s always working and grinding.
I love Odell Beckham. His playing style, and also his work ethic. He’s always working and trying to get better, and be the best that he can be. Those are a couple of receivers that I try to keep track of with what they’re doing. Not just football, but period.