USA TODAY High School Sports is launching a series called “60 for ’16” to highlight 60 members of the Class of 2016 who we will be watching in the coming 12 months. The athletes were selected by the USA TODAY HSS staff.
Name: Marlon Davidson
School: Greenville, Ala.
Position: Defensive end
What we’ve seen: Davidson had 69 tackles, including 16 for loss, and nine sacks last season at Carver (Montgomery, Ala.). He also played on Carver’s state championship basketball team. He’s listed as the No. 3 strong-side defensive end in the 2016 class according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings and the No. 1 defefensive end according to Rivals.com. He is the younger brother of Auburn assistant coach Ken Carter, who played defensive end at Auburn from 2010 to 2014. Another brother, Marvin Davidson, is a sophomore offensive lineman this season at Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, Miss. Like his older brothers, Davidson doesn’t lack for size, standing tall at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds.
Davidson played at Greenville as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Carver last season. He transferred back to Greenville for this season to be with family after his mother, Cynthia Carter, whom he had been living with in Montgomery, died last winter. Though Josh McClendon is a new coach this year at Greenville, he has known Davidson most of the player’s life.
“I coached him when he was in middle school,” McClendon said. “I’ve known he and his brothers most of their lives. I was at Greenville when he was a freshman and you always knew the potential was there. He had the length even then and you knew he would gain weight and get bigger. His size runs in his family.”
Why we’re watching: Davidson will be playing on a solid defense this season that returns nine of 11 starters. That means that Davidson may not face as many double teams, freeing him up to wreak even more havoc. His recruitment is big news in the state, where Alabama and Auburn are showing considerable interest, along with the rest of the SEC. He has said he hopes to enroll early in college, in January.
“He’s being shown a lot of attention right now,” McClendon said. “We want him to get the most out of himself this season. We have to get him to understand that he doesn’t have to do everything by himself. I think, for him, going to college early will be more for his benefit. It will allow him to get into a balanced environment.”
McClendon said Davidson has had to grow up quickly because of the loss of his mother.
“That’s forced him to mature a bit,” McClendon said. ” His brother, who is at Auburn, has stepped up and become a man of the family. I’m sure it’s a difficult adjustment for Marlon. His mom was a great lady. The main thing is he has support around him.”