Second Chance

Freshman linebacker Buster Davis, who went AWOL from the Seminoles, met with coach Bobby Bowden Tuesday and asked to return to the team. Davis, considered the state's top prep linebacker last season at Daytona Beach Mainlaind, must meet certain criteria before he rejoins the Seminoles. "If he's done what he's supposed to do, we'll get him back on the team," Bowden said. Davis, however, said he still may transfer at year's end.

Buster Davis has been given a second chance by Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.

Davis, considered Florida's top prep linebacker last season from Daytona Beach Mainland, met with Bowden Tuesday afternoon after failing to show for practice for nearly two weeks, including Monday, as reported by TheTerritory.

Bowden said Davis must meet certain criteria before he can rejoin the team. He spent Tuesday's session concentrating on conditioning drills.

"Buster came by to see me today and said he wanted to get back," Bowden said.

"So we've given him some workout things. We got him going through some drills this week. He's got to go through that, before he can come back. I'm going to meet with him on Monday and see if he's done all these drills. If he's done what he's supposed to do, we'll get him back on the team."

Initial signs of Davis' discontent came when he missed the Seminoles' home-opener against Virginia Aug. 31 for "personal reasons." His parents met with FSU coaches Sunday, Sept. 1, to discuss their son's situation. Following that Sunday meeting, Davis' father, James Davis, told the media his son had intended to remain at FSU. However, Davis didn't return to practice.

Davis was reportedly unhappy about the idea of redshirting this season. Fellow true freshman linebackers Sam McGrew and A.J. Nicholson each have seen action. FSU recruiting coordinator John Lilly told TheTerritory Monday he had neither seen nor talked to Davis recently.

Davis said he may still contemplate leaving FSU.

"I didn't know if I really wanted to be here, but I'm here now, so I might as well make the best of it," Davis said. "I really don't want to transfer, but if it's something I need to do, then I'll do it, but I've always wanted to be a Seminole."

Bowden said he is hopeful Davis remains with the team.

"What he's doing now is making up," Bowden said. "You want to come back, Okay you got to make up for what you've missed. We'll do that this week. You got to do this, this and this. We've put him on curfew, which will be good, he can study more, and we're putting him through some drills to let him catch up to come back with the boys. He expressed a willingness to do it. I hope he sticks with it.

"It's all in his hands. I don't know if confused is the right word, or not what he thought it was.. or the grass always looks greener on the other side. I don't know what all was going through his mind. But we're trying to make him part of our football team. He's on his second chance right now."

Davis was enrolled in school and living at Burt Reynolds Hall during his haitus, according to FSU officials and teammates.

Davis was a top-10 ranked linebacker in multiple publications and recruiting services, including TheInsiders.com. Davis had more than 140 tackles as a senior and closed out his career with nearly 400. He selected FSU over Nebraska, Ohio State, Tennessee and Syracuse in a heated recruiting battle that wasn't determined until after national signing day.

"Every person comes in with high expectations, thinking they're going to step right on the field and play," Davis said. "But I got a reality check when I got here. I'm not as good as I thought I was. I'm learning. I think that's all you can do. I'll be back out here for the rest of the season. We'll see how it goes from there.''

Davis said a redshirt season remains a consideration.

"I don't know yet," Davis said when asked about the possibility of a redshirt season. "It's up in the air. I could redshirt, but I'll most likely step on the field. Not this game, but the next game, maybe, possibly. A redshirt is still in consideration. I think I do need to redshirt because I'm just out there, not really knowing the plays. As I learn the system, like by next spring, I think I'll have a good chance of getting a lot of playing time."

Bowden understands how difficult that transition from high school to college can be for some players.

"I don't think he's homesick," Bowden said. "I just think it's probably not what he thought or something. but I've had it happen to so many kids. And it's usually one of those things if you stick it out, you'll be glad you did one of these days. That's what I'm hoping he will do. The first year you go off to college it's tough, so I know what's going through their minds."

Added Davis:

"My role here is to come and learn the system. If I get playing time, good. If I don't, then keep learning. I had a big problem because I thought I was better than I was. I thought I'd just come here and start right away. I'm going to give it a year. That first year is very hard on all freshmen. In the end, I think it will work out. As long as I keep my priorities in order _ academics and football _ I think I'll have a great career here. I really do."


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