Viera's Davis hopes for 'monster' senior season


Viera High School defensive lineman Cooper Davis (No. 45) has added more than 30 pounds to his 6-foot-7 frame as he prepares for what he hopes will be a big senior season. Davis committed to Missouri during the summer.

Carl Kotala

After a breakout junior season, Viera High School defensive lineman Cooper Davis didn’t want to just get better.

He wanted to become a beast.

So, as the Hawks kick off their 2019 season this month, you can expect to see a lot more of the 6-foot-7 University of Missouri commit.

About 30 … maybe even 40 pounds more.

Advised by his coaches to bulk up without losing the speed that makes him so effective, Davis has gone from 220 pounds at the end of last season to more than 250 with the hope of reaching 260 before the start of the season.

If he was tough to deal with before, just think what it will be like for opposing offensive lines to have to deal with him this season.

“We’ve got a big goal that if I hit 27 sacks this year, I’ll break two school records,” Davis said. “I’ll break the most for one season and the most for a career.”

After going from nine sacks as a sophomore to 21 as a junior, getting 27 sacks as a senior wouldn’t seem like an unrealistic goal for Davis. It would also confirm why he received close to 30 scholarship offers from schools such as Missouri, West Virginia, Nebraska, UCF and Tennessee.

Having spent the first 15 years of his life in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, before moving to Florida, the Tigers were always Davis’ dream school. That made his commitment an easy call.

“Missouri is just such a great place for me,” he said. “I feel like it’s just a perfect fit.”

Now that the stress of the recruiting process has been lifted off his shoulders, Davis can concentrate on his senior year. He will be part of a defensive line Viera coach Derek Smith said might be the best he has ever coached.

With Davis, Julius Barfield, Jamari Lyons and Jackson Hatfield all returning from last year, plus Tyler Cooley coming in as a fifth defensive lineman, the Hawks have talent and experience up front.

But there is no question, the Hawks will look to provide a good matchup for Davis, or to use him to help free up the others when it comes to the pass rush.

“Our plan for Cooper is that we’re going to play him on both the inside and the outside, but we will probably play him over the weakest offensive lineman for the other team, forcing them to double team him,” Smith said.

“He’s going to demand double teams.”

Although Davis would prefer to be on the outside, where he has more freedom to use what he called his, “high-twitch, finesse” style, he’s open to whatever the Hawks need to succeed.

And he’s clearly not worried about facing double teams.

“Double teams are interesting,” Davis said. “If you beat the first guy, it’s kind of over because the second guy is shocked that you did it. There was one time … the guard tried to down block/double team me. I swam him (used a swim move) and the tackle just froze and I just ran through.”

Though he grew up dreaming of playing at a big-time college, and eventually the NFL, Davis admitted he was a little surprised at the number of offers he received after his junior season. But as Smith explained, there’s plenty there for college coaches to love.

“He’s got very good technique with long arms (79 inches),” Smith said. “His first two steps are very quick. But on top of that, he’s got very good leverage for a guy who is 6-foot-7.

“I don’t think there’s a question he’s going to dominate this year.”