Gateway’s Derrick Davis hopes to carry team back to states

Wednesday, July 3, 2019 | 6:09 PM

The Tribune-Review and the TribLive High School Sports Network are profiling each member of the 25-player Trib HSSN Preseason WPIAL Football All-Star team. The players will be recognized July 23 during a HSSN Media Day live broadcast at Kennywood Park.

When Derrick Davis gets into a rhythm carrying the football, he can tear off hefty chunks of yardage and quickly get Gateway into scoring position.

On defense, it’s the same ground-and-pound style that makes the junior a top-tier Division I prospect.

A top talent since he took the field as a freshman, Davis returns to try to lead the Gators to two WPIAL Class 5A titles in three years.

The team reached the PIAA title game two years ago before falling to Archbishop Wood in Hershey.

The Gators were WPIAL semifinalists last year, losing to West Allegheny.

It will not be a secret Davis is getting the football.

“Derrick is an elite talent with exceptional skills,” Gateway coach Don Holl said. “We will be intentional about ensuring he touches the ball often as he is a threat to score every time he has the ball in his hands.”

Holl thinks Davis also can be a pass-catching target.

Davis (6-foot, 195 pounds) ran for 1,229 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. Rivals has him as the No. 5 outside linebacker in the state (No. 77 overall) in his class.

His FBS offers are legit: Penn State, Ohio State, Clemson and Notre Dame are among his expanding list of 23 programs.

“Our main goals as a team are to get back to states and claim that title,” Davis said. “My individual goal is to become the best leader I can be on and off the field for my team, my school and my town.”

Gateway has developed a Big East Conference rivalry with Penn-Trafford, the team it edged 21-16 for the title in 2017.

Penn-Trafford is expected to push for the title again.

The only guarantee Davis offers is the road back to the finals won’t be altogether smooth.

“I know there are going to be some obstacles, but I’m down for the challenge,” Davis said. “I know for a fact winning doesn’t come easy, and for my teammates and I, we believe that we’re going to complete the job and get it done.”

With senior Tui Brown such an impactful linebacker, Holl said Davis could see some time at safety.

“He is simply a difference-maker, and we expect him to make an impact in all three phases of the game,” Holl said. “Similar to Tui, you won’t find a better kid. Both are a great credit to their families, our team, school and community.”

Davis doesn’t plan to commit until after his junior season. By then, he said, he hopes to narrow his list to a top eight.

Derrick Davis

School: Gateway

Class: Junior

Ht/wt: 6-0, 195

Positions: RB/LB

Stars: four

Committed to: Uncommitted

Division I offers: Clemson, Notre Dame, Pitt, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Toledo, Kent State, Michigan, Boston College, West Virginia, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, Baylor, Kentucky, Maryland, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Duke, Cincinnati and Temple

2018 statistics: 141 carries, 1,229 yards, 20 TDs

Trib HSSN Preseason All-Stars

A.J. Beatty, Central Catholic

Fintan Brose, Hempfield

Tui Brown, Gateway

Michael Carmody, Mars

Josh Casilli, Peters Township

Johnny Crise, Highlands

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .


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