Davis Made Hard Choice For Alabama
With Alabama preparing to play LSU in a key national college football game Saturday, Luther Davis seems to be reliving some of the trauma of his decision to leave West Monroe, Louisiana, for the Crimson Tide rather than play for the home-state Bengal Tigers.
Davis said he has spent lots of time in the last week talking to his friend, LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson. "He wants to do well, but he wants me to do well, also," Davis said. "He knows I got a lot of heat for switching my commitment (to LSU) to come here. He wants me to prove a lot of people wrong, and show that I came to the right place."
Alabama, 9-0 and ranked first in the nation and 5-0 in Southeastern Conference play, takes on LSU in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge Saturday. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. CST with national television coverage by CBS. LSU, defending national champion, is 6-2 overall and 3-2 in SEC games. A Crimson Tide victory will clinch the SEC Western Division championship for Bama.
Stories have run rampant the last year and a half about what Davis went through after changing his pledge from LSU to Alabama. It seems at least some of them are true.
"It was pretty emotional for my family," he said, "having a whole city (Monroe) and state turn their back on you. Just treating you all kind of ways. Calling you names, just because you didn't do what was best for them, but rather for yourself."
Davis said that his father feared for his job, just because his boss was an LSU fan. He said, "It was just real stressful for us, but we got through it. We still go through it, at times, but it's been better."
Davis said you really find out who your friends are – and aren't – if you spurn the home state Tigers for a rival school.
"They showed me that they never really cared about what was best for me," he said. "They just wanted me to do what was best for them, and what would make them happy. I felt like their true colors came out, once they said the things they said about me, and were doing the things they were doing, because of how they felt as soon as I switched my commitment.
"That's something you're supposed to be able to enjoy: the recruiting process. Not a lot of people get the chance to go through it. For me to have that opportunity, I looked at it as a blessing. But it ended up being more--some scars for my family and myself, because everyone made it a miserable time for us."
It wasn't just acquaintances, Davis said.
"Total strangers had a lot of things to say about Coach (Nick) Saban. They were saying that he wasn't going to be here very long. They said that we (his family) were all stupid, and how disappointed everyone was," Davis explained.
Those people didn't understand that Davis had always wanted to play for Nick Saban, no matter where the coach made his home.
"It wasn't about them. It was about Coach (Saban)," he said. "I always wanted to play for Coach Saban, even if he was still at LSU. If the situation and opportunity would have presented itself, I still would have gone there, just because of him."
Now, when Alabama is recruiting a player also recruited by LSU, Davis shares his memories with the recruit so he will know what Davis went through when he made his decision to leave the Bayou State.
"I talk to guys this year that we're recruiting (from Louisiana) to let them know what they will go through while making their decision," said Davis.
One memory he shares is how his treatment changed from LSU Coach Les Miles once his commitment changed.
"He was pretty upset," Davis recalled. "He went from trying to talk to me to calling me a traitor, and saying I'm only doing this because ‘The Devil' is coming back to college football."
Davis concluded, "The fact that he got mad that I took a visit (to Alabama) showed that I was just going to be another number on the (LSU) team."
As expected, those memories have been fuel on the fire that burns inside Davis as he prepares to face his home state school.
"This week, I've been doing a little extra, and staying after practice, just trying to motivate myself and my teammates the best way I can," he said. "I've been trying to get myself prepared for it for about a year now. I'm trying not to think about it, but at the same time I know it's going to happen. So, I'm just trying to deal with the best way I can."
Davis said he's gotten lots of ticket requests.
"I've got a lot of people coming down to the game," he said. "I've got family coming in from Washington (state), California and Florida."
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