Son of former Lake, Wesley star getting his chance with Blue Hens

 

NEWARK – Sure, DeAndre Davis knows all about his dad’s storied football career.

The younger Davis has seen the film of his dad, Petie, when he was a star running back at Lake Forest High and then Wesley College.

“Oh, I’ve seen it all,” DeAndre said with a smile. “I know (Coach Mike) Drass and all of them. I know all about those games.”

But, as proud as he is of his father’s accomplishments, DeAndre Davis is trying to make a name for himself in his own right.

QB Blake Rankin catches a short TD pass in Friday's scrimmage.  UD sports information/Donna McBride

QB Blake Rankin catches a short TD pass in Friday’s scrimmage.
UD sports information/Donna McBride

And as a redshirt sophomore receiver at Delaware, Davis is getting the chance to show what he can do in the Blue Hens’ preseason camp.

After graduating standout receiver Michael Johnson, who’s now in camp with the Philadelphia Eagles  – not to mention Baltimore Ravens’ draft pick Nick Boyle at tight end – Delaware already knew it had to find some new pass catchers.

But then on Friday afternoon the school announced that the Hens’ most veteran receiver, redshirt Jerel Harrison, was arrested for a locker room altercation.

Still, Delaware went out and held its first preseason scrimmage on Friday evening. The three receivers lining up with the first-team offense were redshirt freshman Tre Brown, sophomore Diante Cherry and Davis.

Now in his third year in the program, the 6-foot, 195-pound Davis would like to think he’s ready to take on more responsibility this fall.

“Over the years, there was a lot of thinking,” Davis said about his progress. “Now there’s no more thinking, there’s just react and play, doing what you’ve got to do.

“We’re a tight-knit group so we’re all pretty confident in what we can do as a group. We’re limited but we’ve just got to stick together and stay on each other.”

A Smyrna resident who played at St. Mark’s High, Davis is still looking for his first collegiate reception. He did have two catches for 12 yards in the Blue-White spring game.

Petie Davis, who was on hand to watch Friday’s scrimmage, said his son has really only been a receiver since his senior year in high school.

“Like I tell people, at this time in his life, he’s probably more intelligent than I was as far as knowing the game,” said the elder Davis, who is an assistant coach at Lake Forest. “He really worked hard that summer going into his senior year.

“Like I tell him, he’s still learning. … I’m proud of him. People have told him, you keep working until you get that opportunity. That’s the thing he’s got to understand. I’ve told him to always be humble but be greedy. You’ve to keep pushing hard and never rest because, as soon as you do, you’ve got somebody behind you ready to take your spot.”

Moving on

As expected, Delaware made its share of mistakes in Friday’s scrimmage, which was three weeks before the Hens’ season opener against Jacksonville on Sept. 4.

But coach Dave Brock walked away pretty happy with what he saw.

“I’m really excited about what we did and how we did it,” said Brock. “That’s as clean a first scrimmage as we’ve had in three years.”

If there were any ill effects from Harrison’s arrest, the Hens didn’t seem to show it on the field. His departure leaves Delaware with just seven seniors on the roster.

Brock, though, said the team showed the ability to turn the page and move on.

“This game is and always will be about ‘the next guy up,’” said Brock. “Adversity is something that’s very common in this game and I thought the kids came out here tonight and scrimmaged their tails off. I can’t tell you how proud I am of them.”

Yet another RB

Running back is clearly one of the Hens’ deepest positions right now.

Along with veterans Wes Hills and Jalen Randolph, Delaware has a pair of up-and-coming youngsters in Kareem Williams and Thomas Jefferson.

On Friday, though, the Hens may have just found somebody new to carry the ball. Former St. Elizabeth High standout Eric Patton, a junior linebacker, got a number of carries and looked pretty good at it.

The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder bounced off some tacklers to break off a couple long runs, including one 20-yarder for a touchdown.

“All he really wants to do is help the team and find a way to do it,” said Brock. “We were using him in goal line, short-yardage and he did an incredible job. By doing it, he earned a carry or two. Then, when he earned a carry or two, he earned a couple more.

“I think he may be able to find a role for us. He’s a little bit of a test tube right so we’ll know after the second scrimmage if he’ll stay there fulltime.”

Extra points

The Hens will hold their annual Media Day on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. in Delaware Stadium. …. Both quarterbacks, Joe Walker and Blake Rankin, had their ups and downs in their bid to be the starter. Both threw an interception on Friday. “Right I’m looking at it almost as much from who’s going to make the least mistakes,” said Brock. “Who’s going to cost us less. We’re going to have to win a lot of close games.” … Brock also said he was “thrilled” with true freshman QB Pat Kehoe, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound left-hander from Connecticut.

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or walter@newszap.com.

 

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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