Raekwon Davis combine

Alabama defensive lineman Raekwon Davis runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine Feb. 29, 2020, in Indianapolis.

Meridian football fans might be paying closer attention to Miami Dolphins games than usual, as one of the Queen City’s own is about to start his NFL career.

Defensive lineman Raekwon Davis, a Meridian High School alumnus, was selected by the Dolphins with the 56th pick in this year’s NFL draft after a four-year career at Alabama, and Miami begins its season Sunday at New England. Davis is expected to get playing time this year, and MHS defensive line coach Demetrius Hill, who coached Davis in high school, said he’s still giving Davis advice as Davis prepares for his rookie campaign.

“The main thing I’ve been telling him every time I’ve talked to him is to stay focused on what he’s doing,” Hill said. “There are a lot of things going on, and it’s a different level (of football), but everything I hear from him is very positive. He’s practicing hard and competing. That’s the most important thing, he has to compete for a starting position.”

The two communicate regularly, and Hill said there’s a sense of pride that one of his former players made it to the NFL.

“For myself, it’s not the first one, but he’s done a great job, and he deserves it,” Hill said. “He put forth the work from day one. I knew it was in him, and he’s proven himself to everyone. It’s all on him, and he’s done a good job.”

Having an MHS alumnus make it to the league is also a motivating factor for Hill’s current players.

“The main thing I tell them is that he’s from where you’re from,” Hill said. “He’s from Meridian and from this area, and he knows the streets and what’s happening in Meridian, so if he can do it, you can do it. He had a vision to get to Alabama, and then he had a vision to get to the next level, and now he has the vision to do the best he can at that point, and that’s what the kids have to do.”

Chad Acton, a personal trainer who regularly works MHS football games and also coaches the Wildcats’ kickers, said he couldn’t be more proud of the opportunity Davis has in front of him.

“As many hours as I’ve been around Raekwon and worked with him, it almost feels like your own son made it to the NFL,” Acton said. “I’ve always considered him like one of my own, and even my three boys at home considered him like a brother. He’s just a good kid, and you love to see something happen to a good kid like that.”

Like Hill, Acton said making it to the NFL is a result of Davis’ dedication to football.

“He does not have an off switch,” Acton said. “He just works hard at it. When he first got here (at MHS), he just knew he had to work, and he just worked and worked and worked, and that’s the thing with Raekwon. He has no quit, and it’s all drive.”

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