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    UCLA’s Jaylin Davies uses ‘really high football IQ’ to come into his own
    • October 18, 2023

    Cornerback Jaylin Davies has been a proven ball hawk and an immediate impact player for UCLA since his arrival in 2022. He’s started in each of the last 10 games at UCLA, including the first six games this season.

    Davies took over a starting role in the secondary during the last four games of the 2022 season while Devin Kirkwood was out of action due to a hand injury. Davies finished the season on a high note, returning a 52-yard interception for a touchdown in the Sun Bowl against Pittsburgh.

    His playmaking ability caught the eye of the UCLA coaching staff and his increased role has helped shore up some of the struggles that plagued the UCLA secondary in recent years.

    “He always seems to be around the ball,” coach Chip Kelly said. “I think on all of our big plays in the secondary in the last two years he’s been a part of almost all of them.

    “He’s around fumble recoveries, he’s around interceptions. He gets his hand on the ball … but I think this year with him taking another step in his game, I think there’s a lot more consistency to him and he’s a lot more dialed in.”

    The former Mater Dei standout, who originally went to Oregon, has recorded 51 total tackles, four interceptions, 11 pass deflections and a fumble recovery.

    Kelly has found success with Mater Dei graduates in the secondary before. Safety Quentin Lake became one of the latest Monarchs to compete for the Bruins before being drafted by the Rams in 2022.

    “He’s a fun guy, but he really cuts it on when he gets to the game,” UCLA receiver Kam Brown said of the 6-foot redshirt sophomore. “He is a dog and he’s a guy that you can really count on in a tight situation to go out there and make plays.”

    Davies’ first interception of this season came against highly touted Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall in the season opener. The turnover came at a crucial moment as the Chanticleers were trailing 14-13 in the third quarter and deep in Bruins territory.

    𝐌𝐚𝐠𝐧𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐜 @jaylin_davies

    Jaylin Davies had his first INT of the season & fourth of his career on Saturday!

    — UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) September 6, 2023

    “It was wide splits and it was kind of a long play, so during the time in my head I was like, ‘If he didn’t run a fade, then he would be the third option,’” Davies explained. “I just stuck with my dude and when he came back, the ball was coming so I just got it.”

    Not only has Kelly been impressed with Davies’ consistency and development, but he also spoke highly of his ball awareness and knowledge of the game.

    “He comes from a really good high school program and really understands the game,” Kelly said. “He has a good feel for the route tree that the receiver is going to run in front of him, but it’s his knowledge of football that’s really high. He’s got a really high football IQ.”

    The decision to transfer to UCLA after just one season with Oregon has allowed him to come into his own. The former consensus four-star prospect had just three tackles in two games for the Ducks in 2021.

    Davies was a member of the Bruins’ defensive-heavy transfer portal class in 2022 that featured several impact players such as edge rusher Laiatu Latu, linebacker Darius Muasau and defensive linemen Grayson and Gabriel Murphy. Together, they’ve helped UCLA produce a top 15 defense this season.

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    This week, Davies will potentially be matched up with receiver Elic Ayomanor when the Bruins travel to Stanford for a Pac-12 game and the last in what has been a long-standing rivalry for more than 98 years.

    Ayomanor finished with 13 receptions for 294 yards and three touchdowns in the Cardinal’s 46-43 come-from-behind overtime victory against Colorado on Friday.

    Davies and the defense have allowed 205 passing yards a game through six games, which ranks 37th in the country.

    ​ Orange County Register