Former Auburn All-SEC linebacker returns to Vigor to coach defense
Former Auburn and Vigor star Deshaun Davis is set to return to his high school alma mater.
Davis, an All-State linebacker in high school, announced on social media that he will be the Wolves’ defensive coordinator next fall. Vigor coach John McKenzie confirmed on Wednesday morning that Davis was his first choice as defensive coordinator, although the move has yet to be approved by the Mobile County Board of Education.
If all goes well, Davis would replace Renardo Jackson, who left to take the head coach position at LeFlore.
“He brings a lot of energy,” McKenzie said. “Deshaun is an exciting young man. A lot of young people don’t like responsibilities, but I think he takes advantage of it. He’s a young and up-and-coming youngster who has a lot of experience at Thompson High, so he’s had a great program. We’re just trying to build on the tradition and legacy of Vigor High School, and it is already a big part of it. “
Davis led the Wolves to the Class 5A second-year championship game in 2008 and enjoyed a second straight All-State season as a junior. However, he missed his senior season with a ripped ACL.
He then signed with Auburn and became an All-SEC linebacker.
“Honestly, I am extremely excited,” Davis told AL.com on Wednesday. “When I spoke to Coach McKenzie and Mr. (Gerald) Cunningham (principal) to lay the groundwork, it was surreal then. Yesterday after the moving announcement and the support and love from community members and those following my career, it made it even more special. It made me feel even more welcome. I haven’t walked the halls of Vigor for a long time. I graduated in 2014. Just to get around my people and my community and impact these guys day in and day out – that’s what excites me the most.
Davis racked up 266 tackles during his four-year career at Auburn, including 261 in his last three years as a starter. In 2018, he became Auburn’s first linebacker since 2004 to win All-SEC first-team honors after recording 116 tackles, including 15 for loss.
He accepted an invitation to Reese’s Senior Bowl after his senior year at Auburn. Davis played briefly for three NFL teams in 2019 – Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Jacksonville – and in the CFL for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Davis spent the 2021 season coaching freshmen at Thompson High School while recovering from surgery.
He said the door is “75-80%” closed on his playing career at this point.
“Honestly, my reality is more serious than my dream,” he said. “I’m going to be 26 on Friday and in the NFL it’s almost too old. They start trying to line up guys to replace you. I had a few chances last season, but I was unable to perform due to an operation. Now it’s to the point that I can’t wait for the others anymore. I need something set in stone.
“Come to think of it today, if I didn’t get another call from an NFL team, I still did everything I planned to do. I was an All-State player in high school . I signed with an SEC school. People said I wasn’t old enough to be a linebacker in college. I was lucky enough to be an All-SEC guy. I played in the NFL I did everything I set out to do Now it’s time to give back.
Although he’s only just getting started in coaching, Davis said he learned a lot from head coach Mark Freeman and the Thompson staff this fall.
“To me, they’re the Alabama of high school football. It’s a real dynasty, ”said Davis. “It’s not just football on the pitch. It’s a structured environment that they created to be successful. Coach Freeman does an amazing job with these guys, but so are all the staff at the school. Everyone in this building walks in grandeur. Everyone has high expectations.
“I played Coach Freeman when I was in high school when he was at Spanish Fort and Gulf Shores. I always wondered what the scoop of their success was. It’s two things. There is love in his program and God is in his programs. It is a team led by God. They all know there is a higher power and believe in Him. And they show the love of the players.
At Vigor, Davis will inherit a defense that limited his opponents to 12 points per game in a 14-1 Class 4A State Championship season.
He will bring back talented starters, including 4A lineman of the year finalist Michael Towner.