UCF defensive tackle Kalia Davis declared for the 2022 NFL Draft on Sunday, he announced on social media.
“After much thought, prayer, and discussion with my family, I have decided to forgo my final year of eligibility to enter the 2022 NFL Draft,” Davis wrote in an announcement. “Advancing my football career to the highest level has been a lifelong dream of mine.”
Davis had surgery on Nov. 15 to repair a torn knee ligament that he suffered Oct. 9 vs. ECU. The redshirt senior had 17 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss with 1 sack and 3 quarterback hurries through the first five games before the season-ending injury.
“From the first day I stepped on campus and into the locker room, I knew something special was in my future,” Davis wrote. “The friendships I have made with my teammates along my journey are something I will cherish forever. You are all my brother for life.”
His recovery has gone smoothly. Davis recently shared a video of him bench-squatting while using a bar, with no added weight.
One week after surgery, on Nov. 22, Davis wrote in his weekly newsletter that his range of motion was nearing normal and the strength in his leg was returning.
Davis returned to the team this year after opting out in 2020 due to COVID concerns.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2019, Davis recorded 27 total tackles and was sixth on the team with 8 tackles for loss while playing in all 13 games. He finished tied for third on the team with 3 sacks, earning first-team all-conference honors by Pro Football Focus.
Playing for multiple staffs over the years, Davis thanked a number of coaches, including former UCF coach Scott Frost, former defensive line coach Shane Burnham, and members of the current staff, including coach Gus Malzahn and defensive coordinator Travis Williams.
“Thank you to coach Malzahn, coach T-Will, and the support staff at UCF for guiding me throughout this process,” Davis wrote. “You were all very supportive and made sure I had everything I needed to help me with my decision.”
Davis is hoping to follow a streak of UCF players to hear their names called during the draft. The Knights have had at least one player selected since 2017, including a school-record 5 players in 2021.
The most recent defensive tackle from UCF drafted was Trysten Hill by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 2019 draft.
“It is time for a new chapter, but ‘Knight Nation’ will always hold a special place in my heart,” Davis wrote. “Thank you for everything.”