PLAQUEMINE — It’s all about the motor for Davon Godchaux.
The Plaquemine High School senior-to-be is no aspiring mechanic. While he works to rev up his “motor” for every play, speculation about where it may take him only grows.
On Saturday, Alabama became the 26th school to offer the 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive lineman a scholarship.
“I’m working to make sure I have a better motor because that’s been my biggest weakness for the last couple of years,” he said. “I’m doing a lot more (sprints) and conditioning. I need to be as strong in the fourth quarter or overtime as I am in the first quarter.”
Based on the response of recruiters, the work is paying off. Godchaux excelled at Rivals showcases in Houston and Chicago. The Crimson Tide offered Godchaux a scholarship while he was at their offensive/defensive lineman camp.
Rivals lists Godchaux as the nation’s No. 151 recruit in the Class of 2014. He is rated 10th among Louisiana recruits and is the state’s No. 2 defensive line prospect behind Edna Karr’s Gerald Willis.
“(Godchaux) definitely looks the part,” Rivals analyst Jason Howell said. “When you see him, he’s this big guy who really doesn’t have any fat on him. On the field, the thing that’s impressive is just how quick his first three or four steps are. He can improve some on his technique and in a few other areas. He’s already elite, and he’s a guy who may move up some in the rankings.”
Godchaux figures to be the most heralded Plaquemine recruit since Brian Mitchell, who became an NFL All-Pro return specialist after starring at quarterback for Louisiana-Lafayette.
That’s a lot of pressure for an 18-year-old from a small town, but Godchaux shows no signs of any added pressure on his broad shoulders. He smiles and tells well-wishers at the grocery store and barber shop that he’s going to camps and working to get ready for his senior season. Helping the Class 4A Green Devils garner an elusive playoff win is only part of his extended plan for the fall. As junior, he earned Class 4A all-state and all-metro honors with 60 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
“We had at least five or six college coaches at every practice this spring,” Plaquemine coach Paul Distefano said. “All the coaches are very impressed with how (Godchaux) handles himself. He knows what’s at stake. He knows what a great opportunity he has. His best two games were our last two games. He was coming off the ball quicker and keeping his motor running, which is the key.”
Godchaux carries a 3.2 grade point average, has met the NCAA’s academic qualifying standards and plans to graduate in December. He expects to enroll at the college of his choice in January.
Godchaux plans to visit Florida and Florida State this week. From June 27-30, he’ll participate in the B2G Camp at UCLA. An LSU camp in July likely will end his summer of showcases.
Among the other schools that have offered Godchaux are Florida, Florida State, Southern Cal, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, TCU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Arizona State and Washington State. LSU is not yet on that list — which Godchaux and Distefano often field questions about.
“Everybody asks me about LSU,” Godchaux said. “They want to know what the deal is with LSU. I know they have a process they go through. I did talk to (coach Les Miles) at one of the camps I went to, and he told me then that they wanted me to be an LSU Tiger. So we’ll have to see what happens. It may happen at the camp.”
Godchaux said his parents and his mentor, youth league coach Warren Bates, will factor into the decision-making process. He has several parameters.
“I want to go somewhere I fit in,” he said. “I’m not looking for a place to go party, but I do want to be some place I can have fun and be comfortable. I’ll need to have a great relationship with the defensive line coach. I’d like to be a situation where I can make an impact as a freshman. I’d love to be part of that six- to eight-man rotation most teams have.”
Distefano credits Godchaux for being savvy about the recruiting process. The second-year PHS coach said Godchaux routinely checks recruiting websites to see which players have committed and college websites to learn about academic programs and inspect the most recent depth charts.
Godchaux said he wants to be part of a senior class that makes its mark. Plaquemine hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005, but he wants the Green Devils to go beyond that goal.
“Plaquemine has been struggling to get over that hump and win a playoff game,” he said. “I’d like to see us win that first playoff game and make a deep playoff run. I think our coaching staff is doing a good job getting us physically and mentally tough. We need to start off with high expectations and start 3-0 instead of 0-3. We need to step up to that challenge as a team.”
Godchaux also knows he has to step up as a team leader.
“They depend on me … my coaches and the other players,” he said. “I’ve got to be positive and do the right things where ever I go — whether it’s here at school or out in the community.”
Where will Godchaux go next? That’s a story for another day.
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