The Next Babin?

Zach Davidson

With the departure of Jason Babin the Western Michigan Broncos are looking for the next dominate defensive end to come off the edge and terrorize opposing quarterbacks. Tuesday night they landed one of their possible candidates in Racine Park's Zach Davidson.

At 6-4 and 235 pounds Davidson is blessed with a excellent speed (personal best of 4.65/40) and a knack for getting to the quarterback. Davidson accumulated 20 sacks, 72 solo tackles and 52 assists in his senior season alone. That got the attention of college coaches around the midwest.

"Purdue, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Western Michigan and Colorado were the schools that were really in it with him," said Davidson's father James. "I would have really liked to see him at Purdue I think but he really has it good going to Western Michigan I think."

According to Davidson's father, Western really separated itself from some other schools down the stretch.

"They have the major he is interested in studying (Criminal Justice) and Kalamazoo is a really nice community," he said. "They have a football only weight room and probably the best facilities in the MAC that I've seen or heard of."

Despite the facilities and education the decision may have some down to one deciding factor - Head Coach Gary Darnell.

"I think it was a personal preference on my part because I played at Kansas State and my senior year (1979) Gary Darnell was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach while I was there," said Davidson. "I think that helped that I knew of him and things kind of came full circle with Zach."

Davidson received an in-home visit from coach Darnell this past Tuesday and decided to commit on the spot. He surprised some but it was the right thing to do in his mind and according to Davidson's father J.C. Harper is a big reason why Western Michigan was in the race at the end.

"Zach went to the Northern Illinois game when they played Western Michigan and they really handed it to Western and I remember him coming home and telling me he was never going to Western and how bad they looked," he said. "They were very persistent though and J.C. Harper never stopped talking to him and he came out here and watched the game against Oak Creek and he was very impressive. He really feels Zach can be a player for him and I think his persistence paid off with Zach."

According to Davidson it is a relief that the decision is made and life returns to normal.

"There are so many calls and games to go to that it is almost a feeling of relief now," he said. "Western feels they are only a player or two away so hopefully Zach will be able to go in there and help right away."

Davidson and his father agree on one point, they prefer to redshirt.

"I think we agree that it is bets for him to redshirt," he said. "I didn't when I played and wished I had. I was done and all my buddies had an extra year. I think it's best for him to get acclimated to college and everything before diving in but if they need him they said they'll play him. I'm fine with that if that is the case."

Davidson is a full academic qualifier.

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