Toward the end of his freshman year at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, David Davidkov had an opportunity to join a national 18-and-younger rugby team.
At that point, a spot on New Trier’s varsity football team in the fall was not guaranteed for Davidkov, and the varsity staff told him if he were to play travel rugby and be gone for a lot of the summer, that would lessen his chances of being evaluated. He told the staff that he wanted to focus on football. He had goals of playing at a Division I school and potentially in the NFL one day.
It was not just talk, as Davidkov has taken the steps necessary to make himself into one of the more heavily recruited prospects in the Midwest.
It does not hurt that he has a 6-foot-6, 280-pound frame with the flexibility and agility of a smaller player. It was those types of tools which allowed him to earn a varsity spot and then a starting job as a sophomore.
“I went to watch him work out one time in the weight room and said, ‘Yeah, you’ll be on the varsity,’ ” New Trier head coach Brian Doll said. “He was strong and it didn’t take longer than 15-20 minutes of watching him move and the way he handled himself with juniors and seniors that he ended up sticking around that summer and then started for us on the varsity.”
During one of the team’s scrimmages, Davidkov blew up a senior linebacker, and the excitement was audible over the headsets of the New Trier coaching staff. As the season went on and New Trier saw tougher opponents, some with college prospects on the defensive line, the staff really knew they had a college prospect.
Western Michigan was the first school to offer, and a very nervous Davidkov was shaking as he spoke to their coaching staff. Today, with 18 scholarship offers, speaking with college coaches has become second nature.
“(His approach is) very unique in today’s day and age,” Doll said. “He’s been so up front and honest with schools if the travel distance was too far or he just wasn’t interested, he didn’t waste their time. There are probably 10 schools who offered, but he wasn’t interested, so we didn’t even post them. He’s not a big social media guy.”
In the winter, Davidkov found it difficult to communicate with so many different schools that he personally called coaches to tell them he was narrowing his list down and thanked the ones who were not on the list for recruiting him. Those coaches communicated to Doll that this was much different from recruits who often just stop responding.
While he has not publicly released a narrowed list, it is a good bet Michigan is in that group, as Davidkov said he most likely will take an official visit with the Wolverines.
He said he has been in consistent contact with offensive line coach Ed Warinner and his area recruiter Sherrone Moore.
“With the process, it’s been nice,” Doll said. “We have moved slowly, but not to the point where we will look (to commit) next December. He will do some official visits in June and see some spring ball in March and April.”
Davidkov’s serious, dedicated approach to the game and his mature approach to recruiting ties back into his parents and his background.
“His parents are from Bulgaria and he had a very disciplined and structured upbringing,” Doll explained. “He learned to work hard at an early age. It was very regimented. His dad had a hockey background, so it is a little different than football but when I learned about his family, how tight knit they are and how hard they work, it was an interesting aspect of David.”
As it turned out, Doll’s quick instinct to pull Davidkov up to the varsity was correct.
“He has great character and is thankful for everything provided to him,” Doll said. “We knew he could compete at a very high level and then take off in the recruiting world, but as we have gotten to know him, it’s so much more than physical talent.”
247Sports ranks Davidkov as the No. 107 prospect in the country.
Iowa, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State, Oregon and Wisconsin are among the other schools who have offered.
New preferred walk-on has NFL bloodlines
Bay Port (Wisconsin) running back Isaiah Gash has committed to Michigan as a preferred walk-on.
Gash was the Fox Valley Conference’s Player of the Year as a senior after rushing for 1,916 yards and 30 touchdowns. He rushed for nearly 4,500 yards during his career.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound back is the son of former NFL fullback Sam Gash and spent part of his childhood in Detroit when his father was coaching with the Lions.
His father played against Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh when Gash was with the New England Patriots and Harbaugh was with the Indianapolis Colts.
California freshman offered
Michigan has offered San Bernadino (California) Aquinas freshman defensive lineman Francis Mauigoa.
The precocious Mauigoa is already 6-foot-6, 275 pounds and has a varsity season under his belt.
Michigan is his third offer, with Washington State and Idaho State his first two.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.