After the off season of all off seasons, the San Francisco 49ers needed to supplement their stable of running backs. The departure of one of the most revered 49er running back, Frank Gore, left very large shoes to fill. Complementing second year Carlos Hyde and veteran Reggie Bush is the addition of 4th round draft pick Mike Davis from South Carolina.
Davis was born and raised in Atlanta, following in the footsteps of his brother, James Davis, who was a standout running back at Clemson. Mike, however chose his own path and went to the college that was the first to offer him an athletic scholarship, South Carolina. He told the Charleston Post Courier about how growing up in a tough neighborhood and his brother's success has motivated him to work harder. Read the whole story here. Mike actually went from being one of the biggest players on his little league team playing left tackle, to running back, only after his older brother James convinced the coach to try him at that position.
In Davis' senior year at Stephenson High School he rushed for 1,923 yards and 21 touchdowns. At South Carolina, he backed up Marcus Lattimore his freshman year and then just barely missed having two 1,000 yard seasons his sophomore and junior years, coming up just 18 yards short in his final season before foregoing his senior year to enter the draft.
During the preseason I had a chance to ask Davis a few questions about the beginning of his career as a 49er.
How has training camp and the preseason been for you?
It's been feeling good. Just learning every day trying to get better.
How has the transition been, going from college to pro?
Its going pretty well. I have guys like Carlos Hyde and Reggie Bush. You know Reggie Bush has been here for a long time, I'm learning from him. He teaches me a lot and tells me things like where to look, he's doing a great job at that. I'm working with everyone, Carlos, Kendall, everyone, but I'd say the most help has been Reggie.
What has helped you adjust to the pass blocking schemes here with the 49ers?
Coach Tom Rathman as much as he's taught me, he's broken it down and made it real simple for me. I'd say he's the smartest man I've ever known when it comes to pass blocking, where to get your eyes. Just being around him I just know where to look and where to get my eyes and I know who's coming.
How are you adjusting to the speed of the NFL?
It's most definitely faster than college, but I would say that's one thing you do as a player, once you practice, especially with our tempo, we are moving fast, so if you can keep up with our tempo, I think you'll do a great job out there.
On fellow RB Jarryd Hayne's progress, (who he calls "Jerrod"):
He's done a great job, especially breaking tackles and making runs. His stance is getting lower, he just needs to break the habit of the rugby league style player but it looks easy to him out there, he's making guys miss.
The weirdest thing someone has asked of him since becoming a 49er:
Someone asked me to sign their forehead.
What do you miss the most about college life?
Being around my teammates.
What have you looked forward to the most about coming to the NFL?
Playing with people I've seen on TV
Who do you look forward to meeting the most?
I already met him. Reggie Bush. I watched all of his highlights.
Who would be your first pick if you were playing fantasy football?
I would pick me.
Davis has really enjoyed reuniting with fellow South Carolina players Dylan Thompson, Busta Anderson and Bruce Ellington which has brought a little bit of "home" to the West Coast. He hasn't had much time off since becoming a 49er but the little bit he did have, was spent with his brothers who came to visit. To the 49er Faithful he says: "Be patient. I love Niners Nation. I never realized how many Niners fans there are out there. They do a good job of keeping everyone hyped."