East Carolina cornerback Emanuel Davis, thought by some to be a top 100 prospect in the 2012 draft, was suspended by head coach Ruffin McNeill for the Pirates' opening game.
Davis, along with senior wide receiver Michael Bowman, were arrested early Saturday morning outside of a Greenville night club. Each had multiple charges, including resisting a public officer. Besides the suspension, Davis and Bowman have each been assigned 25 hours of community service and formal written apologies to all officers involved. This is in addition to whatever punishment the courts hand down.
Clearly, NFL teams interested in Davis and/or Bowman will be keeping a close eye on the situation. The reason for this blog post, however, isn't to merely mention that draftworthy prospects had run afoul of the law.
From a scouting sense, Davis' suspension is particularly disappointing as his toughest assignment of the year was going to come in the opener - as East Carolina will be playing Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks and their young superstar wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Davis has steadily improved over his career. He enters his senior season with 27 career starts and is a two-time All-Conference USA pick. He recorded 54 tackles, nine pass breakups and two interceptions last season -- including an interception against Maryland in the Military Bowl. He isn't an elite prospect, but appears to have the tools to establish himself as one of the better all-around corners in the country this season. Davis is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 12 rated cornerback prospect for the 2012 draft.
Though East Carolina faces other talented opponents (including Virginia Tech and North Carolina), the Jeffery vs. Davis matchup in the opener could have been one of the best one on one battles of Labor Day Weekend. Jeffery, a redshirt sophomore and thus potentially eligible for the 2012 draft, is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated receiver among underclassmen.
With a strong performance against the 6-4, 233 pound Jeffery, the 5-10, 188 pound Davis could have really boosted his stock with scouts at the game and exposure for the awards and senior all-star game bids that would attract other NFL personnel.
For Davis, it is quite literally a "big" opportunity lost.