At 5-8, Maryland recruit Davin Meggett hasn't had to downsize college choice

IN HIS FATHER'S QUICK FOOTSTEPS

From the cover

October 17, 2007|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN REPORTER

Davin Meggett wasn't old enough to watch his father, David, cut through defenses as a Towson State Tiger or New York Giant.

In fact, the football film buff has never even seen a tape of the greatest player in Towson University history.

But from his early days playing recreational football in Prince George's County, he noticed certain things about himself. It wasn't just his speed. He could see the field - the way the blockers would shift to create a sudden patch of open ground - in a way other kids couldn't.

And it was in that realization that Davin Meggett felt his dad's legacy.

The senior running back from Surrattsville High, who recently gave an oral commitment to play for the University of Maryland, also faced some of the same doubts.

His dad was 5 feet 7. He's 5-8. His dad's explosiveness didn't always come across on the films viewed by recruiters and scouts. Neither does Davin Meggett's, though he has outproduced more highly recruited players in his conference.

David Meggett had to play Division I-AA ball to make his glory. For a long time, Davin Meggett thought he might have to do the same.

"I reached a point last summer where I was at peace with myself," he said. "I thought, `Maybe I'm not good enough to play Division I ball.'"

But after some impressive camp performances, Howard offered him a scholarship. A few weeks later, Maryland followed, allowing Meggett not only to live his dream but also to surpass it.

"When I pictured myself playing, it was always at a mid-major," he said. "This is just mind-blowing."

Meggett's coach, Tom Green, said recruiters were surprised when the back showed up at camps weighing more than 200 pounds and running 100-meter sprints in 10.7 seconds.

"I think they had no idea of his size and speed and then they saw his academic transcripts and they got pretty interested," Green said.

Sheldon Shealer, editor of the recruiting Web site MDVarsity.com, hadn't seen Meggett in a game when he glimpsed him at a summer workout.

"I was really struck by how sturdy he's built," Shealer said. "He reminds me of a college player the way he's built. He looks like a little bowling ball, and he's very fast. I was very impressed with how quick he got going."

Between his workouts and good performances this year, Meggett has solidified himself as a solid major-college recruit, Shealer said. "I'd like to think he'll do very well at Maryland."

The Terrapins couldn't get a better-prepared player, Green added.

"Davin works really hard, and he's a mature kid, low-maintenance," Green said. "He's a kid you would be proud to have raised in your own home."

Meggett grew up in Prince George's County with his mother, Victoria Davis, and his stepfather, John Davis.

He maintained a relationship with his father by visiting him in the summer. David Meggett taught him to wash clothes and cut hair. They shot hundreds of jump shots together. Football rarely came up.

David Meggett was a two-time Pro Bowl selection who played for the New York Giants, New England Patriots and New York Jets over 10 NFL seasons. He was a fearsome multipurpose threat as a runner, receiver and kick returner, amassing 129 total yards in the January 1991 Super Bowl.

But among Davin Meggett's buddies, his legacy was just a rumor. Victoria Davis wouldn't let her son play football at first. It took a friend's father who coached a local youth team to persuade her. Meggett was larger than most of his peers back then, so he blocked more than he carried the ball.

His dreams of football had little to do with his father. In middle school, he watched a cousin go off to college, and he was stunned at the expense. He heard that if you were good enough at football, you could go for free. So for his mom's sake, that became his goal.

He found he loved the game as well and lists watching film and drawing up plays as his biggest hobbies.

"I just love to study it," he said. "I put up different fronts, try to see what might work against them. I would love to coach one day when I'm ready to settle down."

He counts Green as a hero.

"I see him, and I want to do what he does," he said. "He's so smart. No matter what the other team puts up, he'll figure out how to beat it."

Meggett is among Green's best chess pieces. As a junior, he used his speed to gain 1,150 yards on 156 carries (7.4 average) despite suffering from a nagging knee injury. He also punted, played defensive back and linebacker and booted a few extra points.

And he posted a 3.5 grade point average, essential, he said, if he's to face his mother every night.

He's off to an even better start this year. He has rushed for 879 yards through six games, an 11.1 average. In one win over Potomac, he ran for 299 yards and three touchdowns.

David Meggett was the quintessential third-down back, and hurt opponents with kick returns and catches out of the backfield as much as runs. But Green said the younger Meggett, a sturdy 208-pounder who bench-presses 350 pounds, can handle 25 to 30 carries a game.

He does face more pressure because of his last name, Green said.

"It's good and bad," the coach said. "On the one hand, a college coach might give his tape a second look because of the name. But then they expect you to play better because your dad was in the NFL. We just tell him he has to live up to that and make his own name."

childs.walker@baltsun.com

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