He hadn't played ball in years. His grades wasn't on par, and, quite frankly, he wasn't focused on being a student athlete. Or even a student.
However with the coaxing of his family and new staff of Belmont football coaches, Lankford did make changes.
Big changes. Program resurrecting changes.
With stunning results, we might add.
But back to the Interview.
Before the interview Lankford was nervous, excited, and happy to be on the show. He had ran for 200+ with 3 TDs, and his mom, uncles, and support staff was there.He genuinely seemed shocked that he was getting so much attention for playing football.
He was our first ever DHSS Athlete of the Week. And he beamed for that moment.
But the one thing you also seen was the hunger for more, and the desire to be great. The longer the interview went on, the better he got. Kind of like how he is on the field. And in the books too.
After a nice start last season, the Bison fizzled late, and you started to hear the rumors of the "Old Belmont Bison ways", which was losing, losing, and more losing.
But the one difference between the old Bison and the new Bison is quite simple:
Coach Earl White and his coaching staff.
White took the Colonel White / Thurgood Marshall program and took it to a level very few coaches have reached in City League and Southwest Ohio HS football history.
Multiple City League Titles, numerous playoff beths, (including a signature victory over the vaunted Alter Knights) and a State Berth, to name a few.
White was a former player himself, and holds every player, coach, and staff member accountable.
And if you don't like it? Deal with it.
And by his results, the players have responded and love his style. Whether u like his style of play or not, it has worked almost 70% of the time, which is a great winning percentage for any coach on any level. He knew it would take a little time, but a Southwest Public City League Championship in their first season and his first City Title after two years?
Ohio HS Football Playoff Committee, are you watching?
After a gutsy win over Ponitz, we asked some family where Lankford was looking to go.
Sources close to Davion told us that Coach White told Lankford that, "When the time is right" he'd unveil the list of schools drooling over the two way star for his services.
"Stay focused on books and the season, and the rest will take care of itself." White said.
Well after a 5 TD game last week, it's safe to that Lankford is listening.
Now about that change...
Lankford has become the unquestioned leader of the Bison. He has squared his grades, worked extremely hard on his body, as he takes major punishment every week. He is a captain of the team, become more vocal and holds all the other players accountable while lifting an entire program back to notoriety.
Lankford has taken a glimpse of hope and turned it into a mountain of opportunities.
D-1 offers, loved by his peers, respected and feared by his opponents.
But, in his most recent interview, its obvious he is focused on the task at hand. He talked about his team, getting to the playoffs and rising up even with its looks dim, as his boys had just won in OT after he had scored a TD, 2-pt conversion and had a key sack.
The Bison (6-1) sit 9th in the region for a playoff berth, with 2 games to go. Although they won their league, it's not guaranteed to make the playoffs. With White's pedigree in previous playoffs, & the a team loaded with talent, quality coaching, and players who have bought into the system?
Never too late.
Just ask Davion Lankford and Earl White.
OHSAA Football playoff Committee, are you paying attention? If not, you should be.
Everyone else sure is.
Salute the Bison.