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5 Things To Know About Linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither

191023-davis-gaither-akeem-recovery (AP)
Appalachian State's Akeem Davis-Gaither (24) celebrates his interception against North Carolina during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

The Bengals kicked off day three of the 2020 NFL Draft once again targeting the linebacker position with the selection of Akeem Davis-Gaither from Appalachian State.

Here are five things to know about the newest member of the Bengals.

1. Another Senior Bowl Connection

Both Davis-Gaither and the Bengals' third round pick, Logan Wilson, both played in the 2020 Senior Bowl. The Bengals coaching the South Squad had the opportunity to work directly with Davis-Gaither.

2. From A Football Family

Davis-Gaither's father is Keith Gaither, who is the wide receivers coach for the Army Black Knights and a long-time assistant in the collegiate ranks. Gaither previously worked as the wide receivers coach at Western Michigan and East Carolina. This is Gaither's second stint at Army after working at West Point during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

3. Super Senior Season

Davis-Gaither earned the 2019 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year after a spectacular senior season. Last season Davis-Gaither recorded 104 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and eight pass breakups. His most memorable performance though came in a 34-31 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels in which he had a second half interception and blocked a potential game-tying field goal.

4. Leader In Transition

When Davis-Gaither committed to Appalachian State, the program was in the early stages of transitioning to the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision or FBS. The transition couldn't have been smoother. Davis-Gaither was part of just the fifth class in college football history to win five bowl games and four conference championships, joining five-year classes from Nebraska (1969-73), Alabama (1975-79), Florida State (1991-95) and Marshall (1988-2002).

5. Modern Era Linebacker

At 6-1, 221 pounds, Davis-Gaither is considered undersized by traditional metrics, but has great speed and can tackle well. He first entered college at 175 pounds, but worked his way up after playing two games his freshman season and redshirting. Scouts believe Davis-Gaither is a playmaker who showcases great instincts and toughness, traits that fit the modern era linebacker in the NFL.

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