Davis to turn pro

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS THURSDAY -

UCF FOOT­BALL

I’m hav­ing to leave the guys behind at UCF and I’m feel­ing like I’m leav­ing the fans at UCF, but at he end of the day I feel like I have to do what’s best for me and my fam­ily.”

Davis, who was named to the All-AAC first team on Wed­nes­day, has be­come one of the best re­ceivers in col­lege foot­ball in his three sea­sons as a starter at UCF, is hav­ing his best year as a Knight with 72 catches for 1,241 yards and 12 touch­downs. The Knights are 9-3 and still await their bowl invitation, which will be an­nounced Sun­day.

Davis said, “as of right now,” he plans to play in the bowl game.

The 6-foot-3, 212-pound ath­lete hinted ear­lier this year this could be his fi­nal col­lege sea­son. He made the most of his op­por­tu­ni­ties. At UCF, Davis has been in­stru­men­tal in the Knights’ run to promi­nence, only los­ing four times in the 38 games he has played.

Dur­ing his UCF ca­reer, he has 152 catches, 2,447 yards and 23 touch­downs.

Davis’ younger brother, Jor­dan Davis, a se­nior at San­ford Semi­nole, is poised to sign a Na­tional Let­ter of In­tent to fol­low in his foot­steps with the Knights. Jor­dan is a 6-foot-4, 235- pound tight end who could end up play­ing on the of­fen­sive line in col­lege. He sat out most of his se­nior sea­son with a torn ACL, but re­turned to play in the Semi­noles’ games.

Coaches have of­ten said Gabe Davis is one of the hard­est work­ers they have ever coached. UCF coach Josh He­u­pel said af­ter the Knights’ open­ing game this sea­son that Davis is a “pro,” of­fer­ing a lit­tle fore­shad­ow­ing to the in­evitable.

Davis said he is for­tu­nate to have been able to steer clear of off-field dis­trac­tions and temp­ta­tions and he has also had NFL peo­ple in his life that have been a great in­flu­ence.

“I’ve sac­ri­ficed a lot. I worked to be able to do some­thing like this, but to ac­tu­ally be able to do some­thing like this, it’s crazy,” Davis said. “I was just al­ways try­ing to be dif­fer­ent than the peo­ple who are around me, peo­ple who I was com­pet­ing against … just try­ing to get in ex­tra film study, try­ing to work on my craft the best way I could on the field, try­ing to put in ex­tra work.

“Just do­ing a lot of things you have to be able to sac­ri­fice in col­lege to be able to play at a level that I want to play at. You have to sac­ri­fice things out­side of foot­ball — things that seemed fun at the time — due to the fact that my goal was to make it to the NFL.

“It’s def­i­nitely a great feel­ing to know that I was able to be dis­ci­plined enough to con­trol my­self and be able to put my all into foot­ball and now I’m able to declare for fi­nal seven the draft.”

He’s worked out with NFL play­ers like for­mer Semi­nole star Ray Ray Armstrong, a line­backer with the New Or­leans Saints ear­lier this sea­son but now a free agent, as well as other pros like Dal­las Cow­boys quar­ter­back Dak Prescott and New York Gi­ants run­ning back Saquon Barkley — via Tom Shaw’s ath­letic training, as well as his per­sonal NFL trainer Bert Whigham.

“I know how it is to be a pro,” Davis said. “I’ve been around pros since I was in high school. I’ve been able to see the way they carry them­selves, see the way they eat and see the way they build for the game of foot­ball.

“I’ve had great ex­am­ples in front of me to know how to be able to be the best when it comes to be­ing a pro. They’ve in­spired me to be the player I am to­day.”

Davis will await an in­vite to the NFL Com­bine.

“I’m just ex­cited to start training more and be able to live my dream, hope­fully,” he said.

He said his mom, Alana Davis, had also been pre­pared for the news for some time, but it still did not change her re­ac­tion to the fi­nal­ity of the de­ci­sion.

“Of course she starts cry­ing and stuff. She’s real emotional when it comes the that type of thing,” Gabe Davis said. “It’s kind of sur­real to her as well.”

STEPHEN M. DOWELL/OR­LANDO SENTINEL

Gabe Davis is hav­ing his best year as a Knight with 72 catches for 1,241 yards and 12 TDs.

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