Another Blue-Chipper in Mansfield

Haywood dropped by the school last week.

There is still a mystique surrounding the name Orlando Woolridge at Mansfield High. The future NBA veteran starred there before earning second-team All-America status at Notre Dame. It's a different sport, but Chris Davenport has joined Woolridge's league.

Chris Davenport, a five-star defensive tackle, has racked up close to 40 scholarship offers, from most of the nation's best football programs.

"This is the first time it's happened to my school in awhile, with big-time coaches and recruiters coming by on a day-to-day basis," Davenport said.

Just like with Woolridge, Notre Dame made its presence known around the halls of Mansfield High last week. Irish assistant coach Mike Haywood dropped by to see the 6-foot-4 ½, 318-pound standout.

"It was my first time seeing them, but it was my second time talking to the coach," Davenport said. He previously talked to Haywood during his junior football season.

"He was just like, they need defensive tackles right now. That's pretty much what everybody says, and they consider me to be one of the best so they're coming after me. He wants to get me and my parents out to visit the campus and everything."

Which could eventually become a possibility. Haywood gave Davenport his card, and the personable player said he plans on giving him a ring.

"I'm interested," Davenport said. He has never met Woolridge. "I really don't know much about them. I just know Orlando Woolridge went there, and Brady Quinn played there. And they played LSU in a BCS bowl game. Other than that, that's all I know about them."

This past season, Davenport had 120 tackles, 20 tackles for loss with 18 sacks. He also forced five fumbles, and recovered four more. His play has drawn written offers from the likes of USC, LSU, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Georgia and Tennessee.

"First of all, they say they like my personality," Davenport said of college recruiters. "I'm a people person. I love to talk to people. They say I have good leadership qualities. They say they like my athletic ability.

"They say they like my quickness and just my aggression to get to the ball. No matter where the ball is on the field, I'm chasing it. I don't care if it's 15 yards up the field. That's a lot of the reason why I had as many tackles as I did. I still had my motor going to make plays. When you keep constantly going and striving to do, it happens."

Between playing basketball, throwing the shot-put for the track team and singing in the choir, Davenport hasn't had much time to think about recruiting or visit schools. He has only seen the campuses of Alabama, Ole' Miss and LSU in person.

"I haven't begun to narrow down schools," Davenport said. "That is something me and my family plan to do in a few months. We're just going to look into the academics behind all the schools. That's the most important thing. First, I'm trying to get my education and then sports. All it takes is one play that ends your career."

Davenport has a 2.7 GPA, bench presses 355 pounds, and squats 575 pounds. He plans on taking some visits this summer, going on a few officials in the fall, and hopefully verbally committing to a lucky school by late October or early November.

"I feel really blessed," Davenport said. He has committed to play in the U.S. Army All-American game. "I never thought it would get to this. I never thought my football career would reach the magnitude it has."

That's Woolridge magnitude, and perhaps beyond.

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