Vontae Davis Gets The Call, Praises Zook

Fighting Illini cornerback Vontae Davis was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the first round of the NFL draft today. The 25th pick overall, Davis is both excited and relieved to have the draft process completed.

Vontae Davis lost sleep worrying about where he would be selected in the NFL draft.

"I got up early, and I couldn't eat breakfast I was so nervous. It was good to have my family with me. We got together and watched the draft from a restaurant. I was just patiently waiting. Being the 25th pick in the first round is a blessing."

Vontae follows his brother Vernon as first round NFL picks. Vernon shared the moment with Vontae.

"My brother poured water all over my head. He is very happy for me. He guided me through the process."

The 6'-0", 203 pounder from Dunbar High School in Washington, D. C., knew he would be drafted. His concern was not knowing who would finally pick him.

"I didn't care where I was picked, I just wanted to know where I would be living. I feel real relieved and happy to be with the Miami Dolphins. Miami is one of the best places you could possibly live in America as far as working out and training. I can see myself doing a lot of good conditioning with the weather.

"This is a great situation for me. The Miami Dolphins went to the playoffs last year, and I plan on helping them get back to that point and go even further than last year. It's a pleasure to be there. I feel it's a great value pick."

Davis understands the responsibility of being a first round draft pick.

"I look forward to competing with the other db's, and making everybody else raise their game. That's my job coming in as a first round draft pick. I have to do the best I can to help the team win."

An erroneous rumor spread a couple weeks ago cast aspersions on Vontae's character. Fortunately, it hurt his feelings but not his draft potential.

"It bothered me because it was going against who I am as a person. It was a bad thing those rumors got out, but it's all behind me now. I'm with a team that knows me as a person and knows they're getting a great player."

Illinois coach Ron Zook is Vontae's biggest fan, and Davis credits him for much of his success.

"Coach Zook taught me as a father, not just as a player. He helped me mature a lot, telling me the right things to do. After I got drafted, he was the first person I called. He was very happy for me. I just told me to do what I normally do, and I will be successful."

His selection, which follows last year's pick of Rashard Mendenhall, gives Illinois its first back-to-back 1st round NFL picks since Brad Hopkins and Henry Jones in 1991 and 1992. But thoughts of such weighty issues will have to wait for another day.

"It hasn't hit me yet. I'm just thinking about the uniform and how it would actually fit. Whatever number they let me get is fine with me."

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