Recently I was able to conduct an interview over the phone with Najeh Davenport of the Miami Hurricanes. Najeh will be entering his Senior season as the Hurricane's starting RB. He's a physical speciman standing at 6'2", 245 and runs a jaw dropping 4.34/40. He's got unlimited potential and he's ready to show the country he's for real. Below is some info on Najeh, followed by our interview.
Name: Najeh Davenport
40 Time: 4.34
Draft Status: projects as a top RB prospect for the 2002 Draft. Has potential to be a top 10 pick.
My View: Najeh is a VERY special talent. He possesses a rare combination of strength and speed. A very likeable, down to earth, intelligent young man. He's going to be a star for years to come.
Q: What kind of person will an NFL team be getting when they draft you in 2002?
N.D.: They'll get a team player and a winner. I do WHATEVER it takes to win. I'm a RB, but I played some FB this year just to help out the team.
Q: What are your plans after your football career is over?
N.D.: I want to become a teacher. I do some volunteer work here in the area. I go to my mother's school and talk to the kids about how important edjucation is.
Q: Rank your three playing strengths.
N.D.: I'd have to say my leadership abilities. I bring a certain presence to the field when I'm out there. Another strength is my catching ability. I'm a very good receiver out of the backfield. My other strength is my ability to run with the ball. I can get to the outside, I can bust it up between the tackles, I can do it all.
Q: Are there any weaknesses in your game that you want to improve on?
N.D.: I played some FB this past season, so if I have a weakness it would be my run blocking skills. I'm not used to being a lead blocker, but I'll play anywhere on the field to win a game.
Q: Was it a hard decision for you to return for your Senior season?
N.D.: Not really. I returned to show people that I'm a legit RB. After the Sugar Bowl, Coach Davis told me that it was my job to lose. I'm ready to step up and become the man.
Q: Are you expecting increased playing time in 2001?
N.D.: I would hope so. It looks like I'll be the #1 guy so I'll do whatever it takes to keep it like that. It's hard to say now with Coach Davis in Cleveland. Maybe the next coach wants me at FB. We'll see.
Q: What are your goals for the 2001 season?
N.D.: I want us to win the Big East and I want a National Championship. We'll have a high powered offense again so we should be able to accomplish those goals.
Q: You're clearly a top RB prospect for 2002. How will you stay focused with all the attention you'll get?
N.D.: First off, I don't pay ANY attention to the media. I'll stay focused because I have alot to prove. Everyone will know my name next year.
Q: What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
N.D.: They think I'm mean because I don't smile too much. When I was in high school, my coach used to tell us to keep a straight face because football is business. I guess it's just stuck with me, but I'm easy to get along with.
Q: Do you feel you have to prove to the rest of the country that you're a bonafide star?
N.D.: Yes I do. I've paid my dues. It's my turn to be the star. I know I can do it, I just need the playing time. I'm 6'2", 245 and I run a 4.34/40. I feel God blessed me with ability. I know I can do it.
Q: What's your greatest football moment?
N.D.: There's two. The first was when we came back to beat UCLA in the last game of the season and the other was when we beat Florida State for the first time since I've been at Miami. Those were two great moments.
M.G.: Najeh, it's been a pleasure my friend. Make the best of your opportunity next season. I know you can do it. I wish you all the best for next season and beyond. Talk to you soon.
N.D.: Thanks Matt. I'll talk with you later.