"It all started when my coach recommended I send some game tape to this guy who sends them to a lot of colleges," Davis explained. "I guess he sent one to Tennessee and Coach Fulmer saw it and he said: ‘this kid is amazing,' and he called me. He said we want you to come down here on a visit."
Davis made that visit in October for Tennessee's game against Georgia and left very impressed.
"I thought the game was exciting and the atmosphere is just crazy," he said. "I like that environment and they make you feel at home. It's easy to get comfortable with them."
That comfort level continued to grow as Tennessee stayed in close contact during Davis' senior campaign for Iowa City High School. And his stellar play only reinforced the Vols initial opinion, as he led his team and the conference with 127 tackles (88 solo) from his middle linebacker position to earn first team all-state honors.
"Our season went good," Davis said. "We ended up 10-1 and lost in the Class-4A quarterfinals. That's the highest classification in Iowa."
The Vols made an offer to Davis contingent upon him elevating his GPA and passing the ACT. He accomplished the former and is preparing to take his ACT this week, prompting UT to make an official offer. Other teams, like Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa and Iowa State, took a similar wait-and-see approach, but have picked up the intensity in recent weeks.
"The situation was I had to get my GPA up and get a 19 on my ACT," he said. "I'm taking the ACT in a week. I chose Tennessee because they were there in the beginning and they stepped it up and showed me they really wanted me."
Clearly, the Vols have been sold on Davis for some time and his high school coach isn't surprised.
"Dorian is a football player," said Iowa City head coach Dan Sabers. "I think I've been in this game long enough to know players, and there is no question in my mind, that he is a division one football player. He brings a punch, and you are going to go down.
"He produces results and plays with a high energy at all times. He is just so explosive, and is very quick. Just watching him play the game, you know you truly have a defensive player on your squad."
Known as a physical player and explosive tackler, Davis also believes in knowing his opponent's tendencies.
"I study film a lot," he said. "In high school you wouldn't think you'd do that a lot but I do to figure out what the other team likes to do. I try to put myself in game situations."
As a junior Davis, who was a three-year starter for the Little Hawks, posted 115 tackles with six tackles for losses and five sacks. He also played fullback and wide receiver, catching 19 passes for 233 yards. He runs a 4.65 time in the 40 and starts for the varsity basketball team in addition to running track.
"Tennessee wants me at an outside linebacker," he said. "As long as I get to hit somebody that's my thing. I guess I just grew up as an aggressive player."
Davis is ranked the nation's No. 42 linebacker prospect by Scout.com and he's one of the top 50 players in the midwest.
"They like to hit and that's the way I am," Davis stated. "I don't even like football pictures of me where I'm smiling."
That type of attitude should give UT coach John Chavis plenty of reason to grin.