Written by Ryan Wright
Playing and competing at a high level in sports within comfortable surroundings is one thing, but how one welcomes challenges being stretched in a different way says a lot about the spirit within. For Class of 2024 quarterback Davi Belfort, he has a no fear approach to life on the gridiron leveling up several steps from youth ball a year ago to working for a spot in the QB rotation for one of the nation’s top programs, St. Thomas Aquinas. The Raiders are always in consideration for a Florida state championship, and took home a 7A trophy in 2019 with a 15-0 record ranking No. 3 nationally by MaxPreps. After throwing for an estimated 30 touchdowns with five rushing scores last season, the 6-0, 175-pound, rising star will take on fall camp with the Raiders with that proverbial chip on his shoulder proving he belongs among the elite.
In an RNG interview partnered with QB Hit List, Belfort covers ground on his offseason workouts and his integration into the Raiders varsity roster this summer.
Davi, during the 2019 season who did you play for and at what level were you playing?
I played for the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes. We had a great team and a great coach in Chris McGonijal. We ran a Spread, and threw a lot, especially for youth team. My coach last season, he really helped me a lot. He gave me control of the offense and allowed me to check at the line. He freed the offense for me, which really helped me a lot.
For the 2020 season, which school will you be slinging the ball for once everything gets going?
My family and I decided with attend St. Thomas Aquinas because they are a powerhouse, they have the most NFL players out of every high school, they have a pass friendly offense, and they will develop me to be the best quarterback I can be.
Are you running the same style of offense this season with the Raiders?
They do get in the Spread, be we run more of a pro-style offense.
What have you been doing from a strength and conditioning standpoint to prepare for the changes in skill you will be facing?
For strength and conditioning, I am lifting every day with Coach Nick; he was strength coach at USC two years ago. He helps me a lot with getting bigger and stronger, and with injury prevention. He knows how to help me not get injured while getting stronger.
Which technical areas of your game have you focused on this offseason?
This offseason I felt like from when the season ended to now I am a whole different quarterback. I have switched my mechanics up. Quincy Avery, a quarterback coach from Atlanta, I have been working with him a lot. He just came down from Atlanta to work with me as well. I have been working in the film room to identify the defenses and to know the defenses weaknesses to pick them apart.
Where are you seeing the improvements in your abilities after all the hard work put in this spring and summer?
This offseason I am seeing all these areas of improvements. I am so much bigger and taller; I grew four inches. My mechanics are a whole other level from January too. I am seeing all this pay off at the camps. I went to three camps in the past month and did great. At the FBU Camp, I got the All-American invite in Naples. That is when I started seeing the hard work pay off.
As you near the start of your freshman football season, what do you feel are the things you do well on the field as a quarterback?
My strengths are, I can throw the ball wherever I want it and with pressure on me. I can run; my 40 is a 4.8. I want to be considered a dual-threat. I am working on my speed a lot with my speed coach. With the work put in, I can identify any defense I am going against so I can pick them apart.
When does fall camp begin for the Raiders?
Right now, we are not sure. I spoke to some of the coaches at St. Thomas a couple of weeks ago, they have no clue. They are supposed to decide on Monday on when they are pushing it back. We are not doing anything yet, no conditioning or lifting. I got the playbook a few weeks ago. I have been going over the plays and throwing with some of the receivers. We are not allowed to do anything, which is unfortunate. We have to wait it out and see what happens.
What are some of the things you’ve had to adapt to and adjust with your game practicing with the defending Florida 7A state champs?
To adjust, I have been working on my speed a lot. Most of these defense that I am going against, they are all five-star studs from south Florida. My speed has to improve, and I have to learn how to pick apart the defenses. I have to make it easier on myself to know how to pick them apart.
What is the QB competition like for you with the Raiders once everything gets going?
There are not many quarterbacks at St. Thomas; there is a junior, senior, and sophomore ahead of me. There are no politics at St. Thomas. Our starter is a junior, but if I can perform better than our starter in camp, I will start. I am going into camp competing for varsity job.
I love that competitive fire. Let’s touch on recruiting. That you know of, which schools are showing recruiting interest already?
Arizona State is showing the most interest, FAU is as well. One of my recruiting coordinators called FAU for me. Oregon is too. Coach (Mario) Cristobal (Oregon head coach) followed me on Twitter. There is some interest from Louisville too.
When campuses open back up, are there any visits you’d like to take?
ASU wants me on campus when things open up, Louisville as well. Louisville wants my dad and I there when we can get up there.
Davi, it was great spending time with you today. I am excited for you with the upcoming season. Good luck in fall camp and the continuation of your offseason workouts.
Photo credit: Belfort family; Davi Belfort