Sprout's Hometown Hero: DJ Davidson
DJ Davidson graduated from Desert Ridge, with honors to his name. The defensive lineman had 57 tackles, four sacks, and two forced fumbles as a junior, and 67 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries as a senior. After leading Desert Ridge to the state championship game his senior season, he was selected First Team All-State by the Arizona Republic.
Davidson suffered a broken ankle, putting a halt to his playing time. In his redshirt freshman season in 2018, Davidson played in 8 games along the interior of the defense and finished the season with 10 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss of yardage. In his collegiate debut, Davidson collected four tackles, two tackles for a loss, and two sacks in the victory over UTSA. Against Stanford, his redshirt freshman year, Davidon tied his season high in tackles with four, and one of those being for a loss. As a redshirt sophomore, Davidson started 12 of 13 games at nose tackle and made an impact in the run game. Davidson collected 51 tackles, with 4.5 of those for a loss. In back-to-back weeks against Utah and UCLA, he recorded a career-high seven tackles with a tackle for a loss. In all thirteen games, the Mesa native made at least one tackle, and in eight of those, he finished with four or more. In his redshirt junior season, in 2020, he started all four games at defensive tackle, and added 15 tackles and 1.5 for a loss of yardage with a sack to his name. In the unique season, he finished 11th among league interior lineman.
This year, Davidson is the Pac-12's highest graded interior lineman in run defense this year and 15th among interior lineman in the nation. He is credited with 11 defensive "stops" on run defense, which is tied for first in the nation among interior lineman. In the season opener of the 2021 season against Southern Utah, he made six stops (three of those being solo) from the nose tackle position. While being double teamed, Davidson still managed to finish with two tackles for a loss, a batted down pass, and a recovered fumble. Davidson helped the Sun Devils give up just 78 yards rushing, earning him Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week.