Defensive End Is Just Getting Started

Photo: Graduated senior Rulon Davis (94) had nine tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and 40 total tackles during his three-year, 21-game career at defensive end for the Bears.
Justin Gonzaga/File
Graduated senior Rulon Davis (94) had nine tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and 40 total tackles during his three-year, 21-game career at defensive end for the Bears.

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Football: Rulon Davis

Cal football beat writer Andrew Kim interviews former Bears defensive end Rulon Davis about his preparation for the NFL Combine.

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Often a man among boys in his time with the Cal football team, Rulon Davis has finally moved on to fry bigger fish.

Or become one, to be exact. Upon exhausting his eligibility following the Emerald Bowl, the senior defensive end and one-time junior college transfer joined the list of Bears eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft.

These days he finds himself preparing for the NFL Combine at Elite Athletics Training Center in Los Angeles, joining former teammates Zack Follett and Worrell Williams as well as current NFL guys such as Justin Forsett, Thomas DeCoud and Marshawn Lynch.

That means no more classes, no more meetings, no more drills.

"Right now my life is simplified," he says. "It's eating, sleeping and training, and that's what I do. That's my job. I wake up, I eat and train. I eat, then I train again, then I eat again.

"So it's real simple, and I love it. My life is beautiful right now. I wish I could do this my entire life, but I can't."

The draft, meanwhile, is all but a simple affair.

Davis says that he hasn't spoken to any NFL scouts or coaches about where or if he'll be taken. He's spoken to writers, though, and they've told him that he'll land anywhere between the third and fifth rounds, or possibly even in the second.

"When they ask me what position (I see myself playing), I say defensive end," says Davis. "I'll play kicker if they want me to. I'll be a long snapper. I don't really care."

By sheer measurables, the 6-foot-5 defensive end is bested by few. At 274 pounds, his claims to a 4.8-second 40-yard dash and at least a mid-30-inch vertical are exactly what cause grown-men scouts to drool like children.

Sure, he's done interviews with about 27 teams, whose inquiries range from recognizing defensive calls to whether he's cheated on his girlfriend, a question he thought was "outlandish."

But Davis is a player of intangibles, most of which are good -- such as his unmatched maturity and work ethic partially derived from his three years in the Marine Corps, as well as his ability to play in both a 4-3 and 3-4 -- and some not as favorable, such as his durability concerns.

Luckily for Davis, the ability to focus is another one of his strengths.

"You develop a mind state where I don't care, just give me an opportunity," says Davis. "Constantly worrying about numbers, constantly worrying about what round you're gonna go in. I'm at the point where it doesn't even matter. I just want to prove myself and get an opportunity."

The journey starts next Wednesday at the Combine, which lasts a week. Or perhaps it started in early January, when Davis flew to Los Angeles to train following a brief stint in Florida. Or maybe it started at the Texas vs. The Nation game on Jan. 31, when Davis encountered his first batch of draft-related personnel.

Maybe it all started during his military duty, or maybe even after his well-known motorcycle accident, during which he was knocked off his bike and dragged under a truck.

Whatever the case might be, this much is true -- whichever team picks Davis, it'll be adding one hell of an individual to its roster.

"It's given me more confidence, made me a better person, built some character," Davis says of his past. "Adversity builds character, so you go through a lot and that's what you expect in life."


Contact Andrew Kim at [email protected]

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