Davion Pierson's baby-face grin and soft-spoken personality project anything but the type of beastly brute who could be one of the state's top defensive tackles.
“Oh, he's a big teddy bear,” Millwood assistant coach Kevin Cox said. “But he's got a nasty streak in him.”
That's what allows the Falcons' 300-pound teddy bear to shred double-teams like cheddar, and that's what some of the top college football programs in the country are most drawn to.
“On the field, it's a whole different thing,” Pierson said. “You can't be nice out there.”
Tulsa and Kansas State have already offered scholarships, and several other programs are showing interest in the 6-foot-1, 295-pound defensive tackle.
“When he gets out on the football field and gets his hand down in the dirt, it's trouble for whoever's in front of him,” Cox said. “Nobody can block him. That's why he had 129 tackles, 11 sacks and 34 tackles for loss last year.
“You better go away from him, and even when you go away from him, you're still gonna have problems with him.”
The biggest question that has faced Pierson centers around his size. He weighed 320 pounds last season but used the spring to trim down to 295. Now, he's working to rebuild his body with more muscle, which combined with his natural gifts, might make him a scary sight at the line of scrimmage.
“I just need to keep hitting the weight room now,” Pierson said. “I'd like to get below 290, maybe 285. That would be good.
“I only come out for a few plays in most of the games. You get used to it and don't get so tired, but I need to be in good shape.”
And there's no mistaking Pierson's value to the Falcons on both sides of the ball. On a team loaded with Division I recruits, he's the only one on the lines, which lacked size and consistency last season. To help in both of those areas, Millwood needs Pierson on the field.
“Davion did a good job last year, even at 320. He didn't come off the field very much. He would look over at us sometimes, and we'd just pretend we didn't see him,” Cox said with a smile.
“He's one of the key pieces to the machine. If we want to succeed, Davion can't come off the football field.”
Super 30 No. 11
Name: Davion Pierson
Weight: 295 pounds
Position: Defensive tackle
Offers: Kansas State, Tulsa
Did you know?: Though his future seems more promising on defense, Pierson could end up being an offensive guard in college. Some programs, such as Missouri, are recruiting him to potentially play either side of the ball. “Some coaches like his footwork on offense,” Millwood assistant coach Kevin Cox said. “They want big, nasty offensive linemen with that defensive mentality, and that's what Davion is.”