Two years ago, Norland High school football coach Daryle Heidelburg had a nickname for Carlton Davis.
“The receiver who can’t catch,” Heidelburg said with a smile.
That prompted Heidelburg to switch Davis to defense, where he blossomed into a Miami Herald All Miami-Dade defensive back, four-star recruit — and now officially an Auburn Tiger.
Davis, who had been orally committed to Ohio State, made another switch after visiting Auburn two weeks ago.
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“It was a better fit for me,” Davis said after he and eight other Norland players announced their commitments in the school’s library Wednesday morning. “I kind of just went with my heart. My heart took me where I wanted to be, and that’s the feeling that’s normally right.”
Six of the nine Norland commitments came from the defensive side of the ball, highlighted by Davis and other Division I commitments DE/LB Rayshad Jackson (Florida) and DB D’Andre Smart (Kent State).
Davis wasn’t Heidelburg’s only project. The coach beamed with pride when announcing Smart’s name, calling him “our duck that turned into a swan.”
Left tackle William Gordon represented the Norland offense as its lone Division I signee. Gordon signed with Alcorn State.
Two Vikings players signed with FCS schools, two more with Division II and one with an NAIA program.
Davis expressed gratitude to Heidelburg for altering the course of his career. But that doesn’t mean the two agree on everything.
“I like to say I had hands,” Davis said, laughing. “They weren’t for-sure hands, but I had hands.”
DB Cartlon Davis – Auburn
LB Rayshad Jackson – Florida
DB D’Andre Smart – Kent State
DB Cameron Cooper – Warner University
LT William Gordon – Alcorn State
WR Steven McIntosh – Missisiippi Valley State
DB Elliot Miller – Bethune Cookman
RT Lowell Richardson – Tuskegee
DE Swayne Spencer - Stillman