#24 Akeem Davis-Gaither
Year: Redshirt Senior
High School: Thomasville (Thomasville, NC)
Accolades: 2019 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year. 2019 1st Team All-Sun Belt. 2018 2nd Team All-Sun Belt.
Scouting Report: LB Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State
Speed/Athleticism: Akeem Davis-Gaither is a high intensity, big time effort player. He is very athletic, and moves around the field well. He will struggle to change direction at times as it is easy for him to get moving one way and his explosiveness in that sense is limited. 16/20.
Strength/Power: For his size, Davis-Gaither’s strength is great. He has the upper body strength to move around tackles off the edge, and the power in his lower half to be a problem. 11/15.
Technique and Mechanics
Tackling/Pursuit: ADG is an excellent tackler, especially in space. He wraps up consistently and takes very good angles on the ball carrier. Very rarely do you see him on a bad angle. The intense form allows him to be vicious as a tackler, someone that ball carriers will try to avoid. 18/20.
Coverage Ability: ADG is one of the better coverage linebackers in this class. Has the athleticism to keep with running backs and tight ends going downfield, and plays smart, instinctive zone coverage. Plays with proper depth and it’s like he has eyes in the back of his head. 16/20.
Pass Rush Ability: It’s not the strongest aspect of ADG’s game, but he can rush the passer. He still needs to improve his handwork and usage, as sometimes he will get caught up in trying to move around a tackle and delivers an ineffective punch. He has good bend to get down under them and get leverage, although he didn’t try to use it often. 7/10.
Football IQ/Instincts: Akeem Davis-Gaither shows excellent football intelligence and instincts while on the field. Rarely do you see him out of position during a play. Flows well within plays. I’m very impressed with his abilities. 8/10.
Leadership/Personality: Davis-Gaither has a clean off of the field record, and shouldn’t be a problem to a locker room. There is no questioning his character, as he’s been solid everywhere he has been. He was quite the star attraction at the Senior Bowl, capturing everyone’s attention. 5/5.
Akeem Davis-Gaither fits the perfect mold that the NFL is looking for when it comes to what I call a 5-Linebacker. It’s the outside guy in a 3-4 that is brought on a 5 man rush but has the athleticism and agility to play coverage. Because of that, he can also be effective as a 4-3 weakside linebacker. He’s intense, and he’s a lot of fun to watch in a linebacker class that is dull. I like him enough that I think he would be a worthwhile choice in the second round.
Injury Rating: (+2)
Ceiling Rating: (3)