Maumelle defensive lineman Nico Davillier (6’5, 275) has quite a unique story. Davillier is the 265th-ranked overall player for the 2022 recruiting cycle and 3rd from Arkansas. He is projected to play defensive end at the next level, but as of now the composite rankings (247, Rivals, and ESPN) have him listed as the 26th-best defensive tackle.
Originally from New Orleans, Davillier’s family moved to North Little Rock when he was one, a day before Hurricane Katrina ripped through south Louisiana. “We came to North Little Rock, then later found a home in Maumelle and have been there ever since”, Davillier said.
He began playing flag football “around 5 or 6” and growing up he played various skill positions, mostly quarterback and running back. “Once I got to middle school I played QB, and that lasted until the end of 9th grade.”
After his 9th grade season he tore his meniscus. During recovery, Maumelle head coach Kirk Horton asked him what his thoughts were about switching over to defensive line full time. “I loved it immediately, it was better for me” Davillier stated referring to both Defensive Tackle and End.
“Nico is just a guy who wants to win” Coach Horton said. ” You don’t see him take plays off. He has the length to play defensive end, but he’s thick enough that we can also use him as a nose or tackle as part of our scheme.”
Less than two months ago Davillier did not have a single scholarship offer until one day playing basketball changed everything on June 17th. “We were shooting at practice, I threw it off of the backboard then did a tomahawk dunk and someone had videoed it. I sent it to Coach Nellums (Maumelle Defensive Line Coach), and he sent it out. (Kansas Offensive Coordinator) Coach Brent Dearmon called and offered me that day.”
Since then, Davillier has compiled one of the most impressive lists of any prospect in this class gaining offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Missouri, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, and most recently Mississippi State.
I asked Nico if he had spoken to the coaching staff about putting in a package on offense like what we saw the Razorbacks do with (former offensive guard) Sebastian Tretola in 2014 which resulted in a pass for a touchdown: “(laughs) We’ve been talking about it a little bit, but we will just have to see how the season goes.”