While much of the buzz on campus has centered on a great start by the basketball team, as well as the talented commits Sherrill and company have invited to the family, there is another athlete that has State fans talking. Sophomore transfer Marquis Davis is turning heads with MSU'S 16th-ranked indoor track team, and he might soon be doing the same for the football squad."> While much of the buzz on campus has centered on a great start by the basketball team, as well as the talented commits Sherrill and company have invited to the family, there is another athlete that has State fans talking. Sophomore transfer Marquis Davis is turning heads with MSU'S 16th-ranked indoor track team, and he might soon be doing the same for the football squad.">

MARQUIS DAVIS: WORLD CLASS SPEED

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01players/football/2001/mdavis120-160.jpg" align="left" width="120" height="160"> While much of the buzz on campus has centered on a great start by the basketball team, as well as the talented commits Sherrill and company have invited to the family, there is another athlete that has State fans talking. Sophomore transfer Marquis Davis is turning heads with MSU'S 16th-ranked indoor track team, and he might soon be doing the same for the football squad.

Davis, a Memphis native who prepped at Hamilton High School, has explored the possibilities of giving football a shot, and plans to turn out at spring practice in a few weeks to show what he can do.

"I've talked to Coach Sherrill and he said he expects me to be out there," Davis said. "I'm anxious to get out there and see what I can do."

Melvin Smith, who recruited the Memphis area for State, actually recruited Davis out of high school. The Bulldogs expressed an interest then, one of only a few schools to do so because Davis did not make the necessary grades. According to Davis, Bulldog coaches tried to talk him into playing for nearby Delta State or a junior college for a couple years before transferring to MSU.

But Davis had track on his mind. He had broken the Tennessee state high school marks in the 100 and 200 meters and narrowly missed a spot on the 2000 Olympic track and field squad. His travels took him to St. Augustine College, a Division-II school in Raleigh, North Carolina, where George Williams, who coached the 1996 Olympic team, is the coach.

"I thought St. Augustine was my ticket to the Olympics," he said. "I went up there with a vision to learn and train and do what it takes to make it the next time around."

Davis' vision would take a turn towards Starkville when a friend who attended State visited him in North Carolina. This friend told Davis of the success the up-and-coming MSU track and field squad was experiencing, and Davis liked what he heard.

"I knew about Pierre (Browne) and felt like together we could help Mississippi State get a lot better in track," he said.

Since his arrival last fall, Davis has quickly gained elite status in the Division-I track and field ranks. He ranks fifth in the world on the 200-meter charts, with a time of 21.00 at the SEC Regionals in Fayetteville, Ark., on January 18th. That time provisionally qualified him for the NCAA Indoor Championships. He qualified in the 60-meters a week earlier.

The 6-2, 205-pounder weighed just 170 pounds when he graduated from high school. He has bulked up in the weight room, amid concern that it would take away from his blazing speed.

"I was really concerned about that," he said. "But thankfully, it hasn't taken anything away from my speed. It has just given me more power."

While his height and speed would make him a prototypical SEC wide receiver, Davis is more interested in playing on the defensive side of the ball.

"I'd like to play the DOG position, because I like to hit," he said. "I'll play offense if I need to, but I really like the defensive side a lot more."

Much has been speculated about his time in the 40-yard dash on Internet message boards and radio talk shows. While he hasn't been timed in the forty in quite some time, Davis was willing to take a guess at what he would run if timed today.

"I would say, 4.3," he said. "At least 4.3. Maybe faster."

If those numbers are true, here's a guess that Jackie Sherrill will find a spot for Marquis Davis. Somewhere.


Aaron SonesAaron Sones is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. Aaron, who is a student at Mississippi State University, works part-time in the MSU Athletic Department. He is also co-host of WFCA FM 108's Gameday show which airs two hours prior to each football game. You can contact him by email at asones8@aol.com.

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