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UTSA's Davenport ready for challenge

Fri, Jan 05, 2018

Reese's Senior Bowl: You're one of the hottest names in the NFL Draft circles right now, what's it feel like to have finished your career at UTSA and now have an opportunity to pursue a dream in the NFL?
Marcus Davenport: It's a great feeling. I know a lot of guys that would love to be in this opportunity and I'm just cherishing it and trying to do the best I can for them and myself.  

RSB: Do you pay attention to any of the stuff that's being said about you?
Davenport: Uh, no. I hear about it though even though I could really care less. It really depends on what I do and so I'm working on my craft. 

RSB: There's a lot of people that say you have an opportunity to propel yourself into the first round. When you got to UTSA, was trying to go be a first round pick ever on your mind?
Davenport: Honestly, no. It was really trying to make friends first and then figure out how I fit in and play the game. 

RSB: Well you made a lot of friends. You're a figure in that community. You were on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list. Tell us about what you do in the community and why that's important to you.
Davenport: I would work with kids at a local elementary and I would help them with what was called Rowdy's Readers and I'd try to help them get more interested in reading and help them with reading altogether. And on campus I would do and give little tours or different things like that and I believe giving back to the community is really important. I know that being from UTSA, especially in San Antonio, it's really a great opportunity. People look up to you and I’m finally able to give back.

RSB: Why was that so important for you? Is there a certain person that inspired to make sure you gave back to others.
Davenport: My dad, my family. Basically, my dad has always been advocating for me to give back and he comes back himself when he can. It's always been in my life. 

RSB: Then your life takes you to UTSA. When people look at you now, they say how did he end up at UTSA? What was it that led you to San Antonio?
Davenport: I went there on an official visit, it was my last visit. UTSA was really not hot on my radar really because of the coaches but then I met a guy that I'd grown up watching and I loved the team. It was an actual team. 

RSB: I talked to some coaches in your conference and they say the one guy that's the best player that they saw was you. What was it that made you such a successful player in that league?
Davenport: I'd have to say it was my teammates and my coaches, just the overall environment. They put me in positions to make those plays and really all of the work that we put in in the offseason, it really helped us a lot, it helped me a lot.

RSB: You seem like a man of few words, but when you're getting after the quarterback, what's your mentality? Are you a man of few words naturally or are you mouthing off with the other team? What's it like to be in the trenches with you?
Davenport: Really, I don't say much. If I do say something, it's really not even for myself, it's for my teammates. I feel like that nature just comes from sometimes I need to make a play and I know that they need that from me too. It's just high expectations.

RSB: You've given a lot of credit to your teammates so far but what about your coaching staff? You had a change there, Frank Wilson comes in and re-energizes the program. What was it like to go through that change and finish your career for Coach Wilson?
Davenport: It was a great change. It was a great step in our evolution. UTSA is up on the rise and Coach Wilson is definitely the man to come in there and help us get into - how people like to call us a smaller school, he's gonna take the next step and make us a bigger school. Finishing my career with him has been great. I have to give a lot of credit to my coaches from even before Coach Wilson. They’ve taught me the game and helped me really grow as a person and on the field. 

RSB: How did Coach Wilson let you know you were invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl?
Davenport: Honestly, he had told me he had a package for men before. And so I waited about 20 minutes for him outside his office. He was in there getting head coach things done. But so I come in and he gives me one package. I think it was another invite to a different one. And so I'm leaving and he gets another package and then he calls me right back in and actually gives me the Reese's Senior Bowl one and he's like "Congratulations this is a big honor for you and us. Go represent."

RSB: What was your reaction?
Davenport: I was pretty speechless. I don't really say much, I don't really do much but I was smiling.

RSB: Where are you training and what are some of the things that you're focusing on?
Davenport: I'm training out in California at EXOS. I'm focusing on maintaining a great weight and just strength, just developing myself as an athlete and all that. 

RSB: We know about your athleticism because you’re a former wide receiver. Tell me about that transition to defensive end.
Davenport: It wasn't as smooth as I wanted but I did like the position as soon as I started playing it. It actually gave me an opportunity to get after people that I've always been on the same side with blocking for so it was fun. 

RSB: What changed between your junior year and your senior year? You were a 245-pound hybrid defensive lineman/outside linebacker. Going into your senior year, you jumped into the 260-265 range. Where are you now and what was a part of that evolution?
Davenport: It was more of a discipline in myself. My coaches had sat me down saying that there's a really possibility of me getting drafted. And I had to make a decision on what I could put into my body and just putting in more work. Plus, my teammates, I do give them a lot of credit but I owe them a lot of credit. They believed in me. So they set me to a standard that I had to uphold. The change in weight, that came with a whole bunch of - like everybody telling me I need to it. And actually me finding good food to actually eat and figure out with my strength coach. 

RSB: What were some of those foods?
Davenport: A lot of grilled chicken. I love lettuce so I made a whole bunch of different salads. And mashed potatoes is one of my favorite. And macaroni cheese probably ain't the best but it helped me. And rice. Even some fish. I'm starting to eat fish more but fish has helped a lot. 

RSB: You just named all my favorite foods so when you get here to Mobile, you and I are gonna have a meal together, alright?
Davenport: Yeah, I would like that!

RSB: Throughout your career, you always played in a 2-point stance, 3-point stance. Is there a position you're more comfortable in or every spot?
Davenport: Every spot. As you said, I was I guess a hybrid so I had to do a lot. All my coaches throughout the years have made me more comfortable with being uncomfortable in different positions. 

RSB: You've got a basketball background too. How has that helped you develop as a football player?
Davenport: I guess, awareness, body awareness and control. I love basketball. Can't play it anymore but I loved it. It really helped me with explosion, I guess. 

RSB: At what point did you realize we're gonna have a 6-foot-7 long-armed athlete in this family?
Davenport: It took a while. I was really skinny. I left high school at 6-4. I've been growing ever since. It was just a lot of work. My dad, I have to thank my dad too. He at one point made me do a lot of the things but it's really paid off. 

RSB: The work is just beginning as you go through the NFL Draft process with step one being right here at the Reese's Senior Bowl. What is the thing that you are most looking forward to?
Davenport: Competition. Apparently the best is supposed to be at the Reese's Senior Bowl. I'd love the opportunity to go against them.