Confident Davis Looks To Continue Father's Legacy

Following in a great player's footsteps, who also happens to be your father, can be a daunting task. The inevitable comparisons have the potential of motivating an athlete to greatness, or further fuel his critics who take joy in their self-fulfilling prophecies. Cornerback Mike Davis Jr. has heard it all, and he plans again on proving his doubters wrong – this time as a member of ASU's Football team.

"I've been dealing with the doubters all my life." Says the Cathedral City HS graduate. "They all have been saying that I only get to play because of my dad (Mike Davis Sr. who won two Superbowls with the Oakland Raiders). I find it a challenge to follow in my father's legacy. It's just another challenge, and another chance to prove people wrong." Davis' father encouraged his son to start playing Football only in high school. "My dad never pressured me to play Football. I told him I wanted to play Pop Warner, but he told me that I should start playing in high school if I really want to be the best I can. So, I tried my freshman year, and I got cut. Not only didn't I make it; the coach told me that I would never amount to anything as far as Football. I got me revenge when my track team beat his track team. I also reminded him that no one from his high school signed to play Football (smile)." Even the cornerback's own coach wasn't too high on his own players. "When coach English (The Sun Devils cornerbacks coach) first contacted my school, my head coach said that there's no one on the high school team that can play division I Football. I'm happy that coach English told him that he wanted to see that for himself."

With all the disrespect Davis has been receiving in regards to his talents, it shouldn't come as a surprise that schools started recruiting him late in his senior season, and when ASU discovered him it was by accident. "The only school that was recruiting me my junior year was Colorado, and even they didn't keep in touch that much." Recalls the PrepStar honorable mention all-Region selection. "My dad knew the coaching staff, so he asked them to evaluate me (Davis Sr. also helped six players on the high school team get noticed by various colleges.), but nothing was in the bag with them…My second game of my senior season we played Sera HS. Coach Jackson from ASU was in attendance to scout Loren Wade (a good friend of Davis and a fellow 2002 ASU signee), so it was coincidence that he saw me. He told me that they've been looking for a tall cornerback; I was lucky he came to that game because I shut down Sera's two wide receivers that night. My dad is a close friend with Mike Haynes (former Sun Devil great and NFL hall of famer), and he asked him to put a bug in ASU's ear (smile). Then, coach English came to school the first practice following the game. When I saw him, I thought he was looking at some of my teammates because he was talking to them. I just went about my business, and then my coach set up a one-on-one drill with me against a receiver. After that, Coach English said I impressed him enough to where he will start recruiting me, and here I am (smile)."

Once word got out that the Sun Devils were pursuing the cornerback; the floodgates of recruiting Davis opened wide. "As soon as ASU told me that they were recruiting me, a lot of other schools started contacting me. Wisconsin was the first one to call me after ASU; In November, Purdue offered me a scholarship before anyone else. Florida and Tennessee contacted me too. It was like a domino effect. The phone was ringing off the hook, and I just had to ask my parents to start taking the calls for me. I wasn't being rude, but it got to be too much. I had my cell phone taken away at school because I was getting a lot of calls there during class (smile)." Despite all the various colleges that were knocking on his door, the often-overlooked Davis, rewarded the school that was the first to seriously recruit him. "ASU offered me at the end of my Football season. They were loyal to me, and that's why I chose them…I respect the way ASU did things. They didn't make any backward promises or do any shady things. They kept everything 100% clean. There was no bad mouthing other schools or disrespecting them. They laid out all the cards on the table, and told me what they can do for me, and what I can do for them. I also knew that the Pac-10 throws the ball more than the Big Ten, so if I wanted to showcase my coverage skills, I had to go to the Pac-10."

Up until this point, Davis was only hearing about ASU from its coaches. Even though those words made a strong impression on him, the official visit last December had even a more profound effect on him: "I really liked the chemistry among the players, and with the coaches. That was the biggest thing that was different for me between ASU and the other visits I took. The players told me the truth about the coaches, and told me how the coaches helped them in issues outside of Football. I didn't get that feeling in other schools. It's like the coaches and players were two different bodies. At ASU it's one whole body working together. The weather is nice, and my major at ASU is rated in the top two nationwide. The campus felt like home. If I fell asleep in LA and woke up in Tempe, I would feel like I never left home because Tempe reminds me of LA so much… The dorms were second to none."

Majoring in aviation was a very big factor in Davis' decision on where to attend college. Where did this love of planes come from? "Every year, ever since I was little, I traveled a lot to visit family and friends. I probably fly around seven times a year. So, I just fell in love with airplanes from a very young age." It's no secret that in general student athletes tend to choose less challenging majors that won't interfere that much with their sport. The ASU freshman to be realizes the though academic track ahead of him: "I know Aviation is a tough major, but I truly love it just like Football. When I truly love something, I'm very motivated to succeed in it. I know quite a bit about planes, and I have been taking flying lessons, so I do have some of the learning out of the way. When I talked to the professor in the aviation department, he said that his department is very accommodating for student athletes. They once had a Basketball player who had that major, and they were able to work out the schedule just fine. The harder part of my studies is during the spring semester, which will be less busy for me since I don't have games then."

As someone who wanted to follow in his father's tradition, it's hardly a fluke that the younger Davis, just like his NFL playing father, chose to play defensive back: "Playing the same position as my father, is somewhat of a coincidence, and somewhat not. I had the option to either playing that position or at receiver. I like the cornerback position, because it's an impact position. As a receiver you don't always get the ball, so you don't have that adrenaline rush every down. But as a cornerback, you don't know what's going on and you have to always be on your toes. I always felt that playing cornerback put me at the peak of my performance. I feel that I have more control at the cornerback position…They're not too many cornerbacks that are 6-3, so that also contributed to my decision to play this position" Davis' stature was extremely appealing to ASU coaches, who as mentioned were on a mission to recruit a tall cornerback. There's a Football notion, which claims that tall cornerbacks lack the quickness to be effective. The former Cathedral HS cornerback, who had five interceptions as a senior, begs to differ: "I wanted to play on a team where I was needed the most. Teams in the Pac-10 have receivers that also play as power forwards, like Teyo Johnson from Stanford. A 5-10 corner can have all the talent in the world, but if they're throwing jump ball to a 6-8 receiver (like Johnson), it's gonna be real difficult to make a play. I know they say that tall corners don't run as fast as smaller ones, but I run a 4.4, and I was also clocked at 4.3. So I know I can match up with any receiver when it comes to speed. I had never been taken to the house by a shorter guy, and I never got beat by somebody because they're quicker. My forte is bump and run coverage, so if you're successful with that technique the receiver won't beat you with his speed."

With ASU's Emmanuel Franklin's battling a possible career ending injury, coupled with a cornerback position, which was already thin, the Sun Devils coaches plan on playing Davis this season. "I was pretty much told that I wasn't gonna be redshirted. I knew my chances to start were high, even before that terrible thing that happened to Emmanuel Franklin. I really feel bad; because he was my host too…I plan on reporting on June 1st, so I can work out early with the team this summer. I don't want to be a bust or a project; I want to be ready to play - now that I know I have to fill that void… I look at starting at corner as a challenge; it's not something I'm forced into doing. I want to be the best I can be. I know it sounds cocky, but I know I can come in and play right away. I'm just confident in my abilities. I'm not gonna be nervous out there, it will be business as usual."

Being confident or even borderline cocky is almost required of a cornerback, and Mike Davis Jr. is anything but reserved. Nevertheless, as someone who has been overlooked numerous times in his Football career, he has earned the right to be outspoken regarding his accomplishments and skills. Playing as a true freshman in one of the toughest conferences for a cornerback, while attempting to continue the heralded family Football tradition his father started, are enormous feats on their own. When you throw in aviation studies, you can see why college life may be more of a burden than a joy for this cornerback. However, challenges are the fuel that drives him to excellence. So, whether he's flying an airplane across the Arizona skies or snaring an interception from mid-air in Sun Devil stadium, Mike Davis Jr. will be soaring high…


Mike Davis Jr.

High School

Cathedral HS, Los Angeles, CA


CB (Played FS and WR too)





Date of Birth



Los Angeles, CA


I have a lot of them. "Fabulous" is my favorite.

Favorite TV Show

The Simpsons

Favorite Movie

Independence Day

Favorite Singer

DJ Quick

Favorite Food

T-bone steak

Favorite Drink

Met-Rex Weight Gainer Shake

Favorite Athlete

My father

Favorite Pro Team

Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Clippers

Person you most admire

My father and Coach English. My dad has always been there for me. He volunteered in my school just to make sure I have the best coaches, and help me impress recruiters. He also helped me out a lot in the recruiting process. I admire coach English because he was very persistent in the way he recruited me.

First Football Memory

I only started playing my sophomore year. I did tackling drills at Sera HS, and Loren Wade ran me over. He gave me an insight to what the game is like. I was able to pay back the favor when we played him this year (smile).

One Thing most people don't know about me

Most people tell me that they're surprised to see how nice a guy I am. They don't think that somebody as big as me can be nice. They're also surprised how humble I can be. I came from a nicer neighborhood than a lot of my friends in school, but I never talked about that. They never knew it until they came to visit me.

Why did you choose ASU?

Loyalty. My major (aviation) was important too, but loyalty was number one.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

Like everybody I'd like to be in the NFL. If it doesn't work, I'd like to be a pilot in the commercial airline industry.

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