Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Familiar with UCF, ex-Clemson CB Davis ready for Big 12

- By Jason Beede Email Jason Beede at jbeede@ orlandosen­ or follow him on Twitter at @therealBee­de.

When Fred Davis was coming out of Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonvil­le during the 2020 high school football recruiting cycle, the 4-star cornerback chose the Clemson Tigers.

Three years later, the Florida native is back in the Sunshine State after transferri­ng to UCF to join the Knights for their inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference.

“Why not?” Davis asked recently when speaking about his decision. “UCF [is] going to the Big 12. It’s close to home. I’m ready to keep building on and just win. We have a lot of opportunit­ies to get everything going and kick it up a notch.”

Davis, who has two years of eligibilit­y remaining, described the transfer process as hectic. He entered the NCAA transfer portal on Dec. 4 and announced his intentions to head to UCF 15 days later.

“It was a hard decision to make,” he said. “I had to weigh a lot of options. I felt that UCF would be the best opportunit­y for me. The coaches — they’re not going to fake it. They’re real. That’s really what made my decision to come to UCF.”

Recently promoted defensive coordinato­r Addison Williams was the first UCF representa­tive to reach out to Davis but that only came after UCF wide receivers Kobe Hudson and Javon Baker recommende­d that the Knights recruit the Clemson transfer.

“I want to shout out to the ones who got me on board,” Davis said. “They got with the coaches and then coach Addison hit me up. It just went from there.

“As soon as I came here on a visit, I knew this is where I wanted to go.”

It helped the Knights that Davis already was familiar with UCF thanks to a pair of Jacksonvil­le friends in former Knights linebacker Eriq Gilyard and running back Otis Anderson, whom he watched play at the Orlando school.

“I grew up watching UCF,” Davis said. “It just means a lot to be a part of the process. I’m ready to get going and win. I know that’s what we’re going to do.”

He was also familiar with Knights coach Gus Malzahn, who recruited him while Malazahn coached at Auburn. Davis said he was searching for stability at his next school.

“I wanted my next move to be my best move,” Davis said. “I know going into the Big 12, Coach Gus is going to be here for some time. I had a relationsh­ip with him prior, so that played a big part as well.”

At Clemson, Davis played in 27 games while making four starts for the Tigers. In three years there, he recorded 32 tackles, 4 pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

This past season he had 13 tackles and 2 pass breakups along with recovering a fumble but missed the final six games after injuring his ankle.

Davis shared his strengths on the field.

“I can definitely come up and tackle,” he said. “I’m not afraid to tackle. I’m a long, physical corner that’s good at pressing.”

The Knights were in need of a cornerback similar to Davis after former UCF corner Davonte Brown transferre­d to Miami. While it’s likely he’ll contribute at corner, Davis said he could play anywhere in the secondary.

“I’m just ready to compete,” he said. “I know what I can do on the field. I’m ready for what’s in store for me.”

What’s in store for Davis is the Big 12. UCF will play on Sept. 23 at Manhattan, Kan., for its first game in the Power Five league to face Kansas State.

Davis is hoping the Knights can accomplish what the Wildcats did last season — win the Big 12.

“We’re trying to win it all,” Davis said. “That’s really it. We’ve been working hard. That’s the ultimate goal. We’ve got the numbers. This is going to be a special team.”

 ?? JASON BEEDE/ORLANDO SENTINEL ?? New UCF cornerback Fred Davis played in 27 games at Clemson while making four starts for the Tigers in three seasons.
JASON BEEDE/ORLANDO SENTINEL New UCF cornerback Fred Davis played in 27 games at Clemson while making four starts for the Tigers in three seasons.

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