Davion Fleming, Northwestern Wildcats football, No. 16

One of these men is named "Colin Fleming." - Phil Walter

Davion Fleming has only gotten prime playing time in one game against three years. Can he make a difference at safety?

Origin myth

There's something up with safeties and ridiculous high school statlines. Fleming hails from Upland, California, where he played for the Upland Highlanders in the SoCal area typically referred to as "Inland Empire," because land. He played both ways, as a running back and an LB/safety, and had 1,506 yards on 5.9 per carry with 22 touchdowns and a reception in every game. His career totals on defense were actually a lot less impressive, but most services projected him as a three-star safety. (Scout, of course, projected him as a two-star running back. WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY SCOUT PROJECTS EVERYBODY ONE STAR LOWER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE AND AT A DIFFERENT POSITION) 247's composite put Fleming as the No. 69 safety in the country, but only Northwestern extended an offer Fleming's way before he bit in November of his senior year. No high school highlights, which is a bummer, since I wanted to watch him wreck kids' shop.

At Northwestern

D-Flem redshirted as a freshman and only saw his way into the game on special teams as a freshman and a sophomore. As a junior, though, things seemed primed to open up: with Brian Peters' graduation, Northwestern needed somebody to step up at the safety spot not occupied by Ibraheim Campbell, and Fleming started against Syracuse in the season opener.

Unfortunately, that game was a damn massacre, with Ryan Nassib throwing for 482 yards. I personally noted Fleming responsible for a first-down completion on third-and-13 and an ugly pass interference call. It wasn't all bad -- he also had a TFL and a forced fumble -- but the coaches had seen enough. In the second game of the year, Jared Carpenter earned the start instead of Fleming and Northwestern opted to burn Traveon Henry's redshirt and play him as Carpenter's backup. Jimmy Hall would get in the mix later in the year, but Fleming would stay in a reserve/special teams role, recording only three tackles after his career high 10 against Syracuse.

Career highlight

That forced fumble! Ryan Nassib found Marcus Sales wide open in a seam of Northwestern's zone, and he turned it upfield to try and convert a first down. He was met by Fleming -- and two other tacklers -- but Fleming got the credit for nudging the ball loose by lowering his body on the hit. NU recovered easily -- four NU guys around the ball with no Cuse players -- and the Wildcats took over in Syracuse territory. Unfortunately, Kain Colter would fumble on the very next play and give the ball right back and eight yards closer to Syracuse's end zone.

Anagram of choice

Discovering the Wildcats' true inner selves through spelling

Davion Fleming, anagrammed, is

MAD FINE LOVING

Hell yeah, Davion. The mackinest anagram since Eric "Core Loins" Olson and Dean "Lady Owner" Lowry.

(Also considered: "Minivan golfed," which is white people things, "Given Manifold," which is the name of a metal group if I've ever heard won, "Veil of Damning," which is EVEN MORE OF THE NAME OF A METAL GROUP IF I'VE EVER HEARD ONE, "Vino Mead fling," which is a regular drunk giving Viking booze a try, "Vim-fanged loin," which is a really poetic yet disturbing way of describing somebody being turned on, "Gonad Vine film," which is making a cell phone video of one of your balls, and "Avoid men fling," which is that girl who lives down the hall experimenting sophomore year.)

Relevant musical selection

Not a lot of "Davion" songs, so:

Q: Name five favorite songs (and artist) on your I-Pod:
A: Black Republican - Nas; I'm Beamin' -- Lupe Fiasco; Shiver -- Coldplay; Nitro -- UVERworld' Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart -- Alicia Keys

WE CAN WORK WITH THAT

One one hand, this song is kinda depressing -- it's the great end of the Nas-Jay-Z feud, one of the most bitter/brilliant feuds in rap history, except it's Jay-Z and Nas during a collective lull in both of their careers where neither was busting down the doors like they did in the 90's and early 2000's. Both have recovered -- Nas' "Life is Good" was fire, and Jay-Z can't do anything without a million people buying it right now -- but at the time it was a bit shaky for each. On the other, this song is damn awesome: the beat, spun from an instrumental off the Godfather 2 soundtrack, is epic as hell, and Nas spits even if Jay is clearly messing around.

How he can help

Davion's a senior. He started out his career waiting for his turn, and once it came, he was overpassed by more talented youngsters. It would be nice -- albeit unlikely -- for him to fill a backup role as a savvy veteran at a spot where all the veterans are juniors at the oldest.

Depth chart projection

We had listed Fleming as a backup: Campbell's spot is booked, and Henry and Hall should fight for/share the other safety spot, so we figured Fleming would be the fourth safety on the two-deep. But from what we hear out of training camp, four-star Godwin Igwebuike is a guy to watch, and having just burned a freshman's redshirt last year, it would be no surprise to see it happen again if the guy is ready to play. If Igwebuike keeps his shirt, Fleming's the backup.

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