Servite cornerback Maurice Davison has substance without the hype

Eric Sondheimer
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Maurice Davison of Servite is thrilled at prospect of playing at Northern Arizona

Silly week is upon us.

Wednesday is letter-of-intent day for seniors in high school football, which means ESPNU will devote 11 hours of continuous coverage telling us how 17- and 18-year-olds will change our lives because of their supposed greatness. If Mel Kiper Jr. could come up with his top 2019 NFL draft prospects, we'd really go bonkers.

Get ready for grown men screaming or cursing from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Columbus, Ohio, depending on whether a certain teenager pulls out a hat and reveals the right college choice.

"I propose a rule to the NCAA that any kid who does the three-hat thing when he commits should be ineligible," Mission Hills Alemany Coach Dean Herrington said.

I'm looking at signing day from a different perspective. I want to identify a player who's going to shock the recruiting rankings one day. We've all learned that bestowing a five-star or four-star rating on a player guarantees nothing. The two starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl XLIX, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady, weren't highly rated prospects coming out of high school.

So let me introduce cornerback Maurice Davison from Anaheim Servite. He'll be signing with Northern Arizona, a Football Championship Subdivision school he visited in Flagstaff, Ariz., two weeks ago. It was the only school that truly wanted him.

"It's a blessing to me," Davison said. "It was beautiful. When I got there, I fell in love. The people are great; the coaches are great. The environment is beautiful. It felt like home."

Playing since his sophomore season in the toughest high school league in America, the Trinity League, Davison has been engaged in hand-to-hand battles while trying to cover the likes of Thomas Duarte (UCLA), Shay Fields (Colorado), Dante Pettis (Washington) and River Cracraft (Washington State).

"Moe is a crazy athlete," Pettis said. "I'm really surprised he didn't get more offers than he did. He's definitely one of the best corners I've gone against."

The stumbling block for Davison was his height, 5 feet 9.

"I loved that kid," former Servite Coach Troy Thomas said. "People will say he's too short, but what he lacks in size he makes up in his competitiveness, intelligence and toughness. I believe Northern Arizona got a steal."

Sure, Davison would have appreciated a Division I offer. But it doesn't matter now. He'll always have, as he puts it, "a chip on my shoulder" to motivate him for "the schools that passed on me because of my height."

"If I have the opportunity to play against them, I'm going to give it my all," he said.

Most of all, he's going to get a free college education. He'll think about his freshman and sophomore years, when his father, Maurice Sr., was waking up at 5 a.m. to drive him to Anaheim from their home in Compton to make it on time for class.

"My parents prepared me in a great way and taught me to know right from wrong," he said.

I remember another cornerback who grew up in Compton. His name is Richard Sherman.

In an April 2005 story, Sherman said, "I am quick and I get to the ball when it is in the air. I have great jumping ability and football really comes easy for me. On defense, I can read the receivers well and jump on their routes." The story added: "He is awaiting his first offer."

Sherman ended up signing with Stanford and the rest is football history.

Signing day has become a big day for entertainment, but if you really want to know the effect a player will make for a college team, it's going to take some time. On the field and in the classroom, we'll find out who's about hype and who's about getting better every day.

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