DB/Kick Returner Transfers To UI For 5th Year

The Fighting Illini football team was last in the country in punt returns and next to last in kickoff returns last year. That problem may be resolved in part due to the addition of an exciting returner. Tommy Davis is transferring from Northern Illinois for his last year of eligibility.

Former East St. Louis option quarterback Tommy Davis is now enrolled in school at Illinois.

"I am transferring from Northern Illinois. I am coming here as a fifth-year player. I will be eligible right away."

Davis is pursuing a Master's degree in a curriculum not offered at the Dekalb school.

"I got to Northern in 2008 and played four years. I had a great time there. I love the school, but I decided to come here for my last year."

This could be a special blessing for the Illini. Davis has expertise in areas where the Illini lack depth.

"I play defensive back, both corner and safety . And then I return kicks and punts."

It is that latter experience that is especially appealing to Illini fans. Davis has developed a solid reputation for his kickoff returns.

"I was fourth all-time in school history for kickoff returns. I returned two kicks in my career for touchdowns, and one of them was the top play on Sports Center. In my redshirt freshman year, I ran a kickoff all the way back 86 yards, and it ended up being in the top 10 on Sports Center."

Davis also has defensive back skills. He contributed 38 total tackles for the Huskies last season.

"I played a lot of man coverage at Northern. Probably my best attribute is my ability to run and move. I'm a tough player."

The 5'-11", 190 pounder contacted Illinois when he was considering school choices for his final season.

"Coach (Alex) Golesh was at Northern the year before I got there. He was a graduate assistant there. I contacted the school when I decided to transfer, and he was the guy I talked to. And then I was in contact a little bit with Coach (Tim) Banks."

Davis isn't expecting miracles, but any help he can provide will be gratefully appreciated by Illini faithful.

"I just want to help out any way I can."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories