Raesjon Davis already had begun to make a name for himself.
The outside linebacker had a monster performance to help Santa Ana Mater Dei High win the Open Division state championship bowl game in 2018. Davis had seven tackles, including four for lost yardage with two sacks, in the Monarchs’ 35-21 victory over Concord De La Salle to conclude his sophomore season.
But his status catapulted to another level as college coaches began to visit for spring evaluations in January, leading to Davis having a day he’ll never forget.
It began with a text he received from a Mater Dei assistant when Davis was in class. The text was notifying Davis that Louisiana State had offered him a football scholarship.
A couple of hours later, coach Bruce Rollinson told his young linebacker that Auburn had stopped by the school earlier in the day and was offering him a scholarship. USC’s coaching staff also had asked Rollinson to pass along to Davis that he had a scholarship opportunity available at their school.
When Davis got home that evening, he had a discussion with an Oregon State coach, who offered as well.
“It was crazy,” Davis said. “My mom and dad were very happy for me. My whole family was happy. Everybody was happy, so it was just a very happy day for me. It was big for me because it really just boosted me up with just being known, so it helped me a lot.”
Davis knew he had options across the nation as his offer sheet grew to more than 20 colleges. He sampled life on various campuses, taking unofficial visits to several of the schools that were recruiting him most throughout the spring and summer.
But LSU was the college that gave him a different vibe and felt like a home away from home. Davis connected well with Ed Orgeron and felt the coach also developed a strong relationship with his family.
“Coach O, he really clicked with me,” Davis said. “He showed my mom and my dad that it’s a family environment, that he’ll take care of me when I’m there. So when they’re back at home they won’t have to worry about anything. I’m always going to be there, be safe and you know, just be able to play ball.
“It was just a home feeling with just like everybody embracing me. Just a family atmosphere, so I know when I’m out there that I have people that have my back.”
He committed to the Tigers on New Year’s Day. Davis said it was a decision he had wanted to make since his second trip to Baton Rouge before his junior year, but he had to wait to get his parents’ approval. They wanted him to explore options before making a decision with two high school football seasons remaining.
But Davis made up his mind after a junior season in which he had 43 tackles, including 16 1/2 for lost yardage with 7 1/2 sacks and 10 passes deflected.
“I just called them right before New Year’s Day and I said, ‘I know where I want to go. I know what I want to do. I know where I want to be,’ ” Davis said. “They were happy with it. They said we think it’s the right decision too, so they were set on it.”
Davis plans to return to Louisiana for the Tigers’ spring game and will take his official visit to LSU later, but doesn’t have any plans to take official visits to other schools. He did join multiple Mater Dei teammates in attendance for an underclassman event USC hosted in January. Davis previously called USC his “favorite school since I was a little kid.”
By picking LSU, Davis chose to follow former Mater Dei teammate Elias Ricks. Davis said Ricks had been recruiting him to come to Baton Rouge since Ricks’ commitment at the end of 2018, not long after Mater Dei’s title run.
“We’ve been playing together since youth football,” Davis said. “So you know, that’s my brother. That’s my family. So it makes it a lot easier him being out there. He’s gonna help me just adapting to it. That’s just going to ease my way into it and go win some more championships.”