It’s getting hard to not notice Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis. The 6-4, 234-pound junior from rural Georgia not only had his second consecutive double-digit tackle game with a dozen stops last week, but his 85-yard interception return was one of the biggest plays of the young season. There’s no better time to do a little bit of deep diving about Kentucky’s outstanding defender. Here are 10 things to know about Jamin Davis.

1. He’s from a football family

Davis’s father, James, played football at HBCU Bethune-Cookman. Davis also has a cousin, Atiyyah Henderson, who was an excellent running back at San Diego State in the late 2000s, totalling almost 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 3 seasons at SDSU. Davis’ younger brother, Treyon, signed with The University of Mount Union in the spring.

2. Long-distance connection

Other than Aussie punter Max Duffy, Davis wins the Wildcat long-distance award, as he’s several thousand miles from his birthplace of Honolulu, Hawaii. While Davis was born in Hawaii (he’s a military kid), he came into his athletic prime in Long County, Georgia, in the southeastern corner of the state.

3. Not the most sought-after Long County athlete

Davis was only the second Long County Blue Tide football player to sign with a Division I school. He was rated, by 247sports, as the 915th best player in the 2017 recruiting class. But the most recruited Long County athlete ever was former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan, who was picked in the 1st round of the 2000 MLB Draft out of Long County. McGowan, who received a signing bonus of $950,000, won only 35 MLB games as he battled arm injuries.

4. He used to run with the ball all the time

Davis’ rumbling, bumbling, stumbling, 85-yard INT return against Tennessee definitely looks like a defensive player. But he wasn’t always 234 pounds. He weighed 195 in high school and took handoffs and even caught passes. Here’s a Long County moment, where a noticeably smaller Davis shows off his receiving skills.

5. He chose Kentucky early

Davis attended Kentucky’s Junior Day in May 2016, and committed to the Wildcats 2 days later. He subsequently received offers from schools including Purdue, NC State and Louisville, but other than an official visit to Central Florida, his recruitment was low-key. Not only did Davis commit early, but he graduated high school a semester early and was on-campus in Lexington in January 2017.

6, He doesn’t just catch footballs …

One of the highlights of Davis’ early 2020 days was a fishing trip with his old Kentucky teammate, Kash Daniel. Looks like they both had a pretty successful day.


7. Had a career day supporting a teammate

Davis had previously split snaps with fellow linebacker Chris Oats, before Oats sustained a serious medical emergency in the offseason. With Oats unable to play, a different UK player wears his No. 22 jersey each week. Davis wore it against Mississippi State, and posted his first double-figure tackle game, with 11 stops, and also had an interception.

8. Among the SEC’s leaders

Despite having started just 1 game coming into 2020, Davis’s 35 tackles are 9th in the SEC. In addition, his 2 interceptions ties him for 3rd in the conference. While the 85-yard score made all the highlight reels, Davis’ 3rd-down stop to open the second half was an underappreciated key to Kentucky’s win in Knoxville.

9. Doesn’t mind to talk

Davis’ PG-rated answer about his long interception return was another highlight of Kentucky’s win over Tennessee.

 10. More than football

Davis always is aware of the world outside football. In 2019, he volunteered for God’s Pantry, a  Lexington food bank. He says that his dream job is to be a corporate lawyer, and Davis’s favorite saying, both according to UK Media Relations and his own Twitter account, is “You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic.”