Patience Tester

With the emergence of fellow Meridian native Cordera Eason and a multitude of youngsters at running back, sophomore Derrick Davis patiently waited for a chance to contribute. When an opportunity presented itself, he capitalized. Read about it inside.

Call Derrick Davis the exception.

As college football has transformed into a game of individuals seeking adoration, unselfishness is hard to find these days. Players crave their moment in the spotlight, but this sophomore isn't one to complain.

The Ole Miss running back has been referred to by many as the "glue" of the running backs and is one of the more attentive players in team meetings and practice.

But despite those glowing declarations by his counterparts, Davis has found the road to the endzone hard throughout his college career.

"I never wanted to be a cancer that spread to the rest of the team," Davis said. "I tried to keep the team in mind. I was thinking it was best to not say anything and play my role. I knew coach had a better vision than I did. I just kept to myself."

A lesser man could have easily hung his head when the ball wasn't coming his way, but Davis is different.

While it has proven difficult to be buried behind fellow Meridian native and longtime running mate Cordera Eason or even the crowd of decorated freshman on the roster, Davis has always refused to be a distraction.

To label him a "team player" would be an understatement.

"Everyone has gotten along great," he said. "Everybody congratulates the other and we criticize each other in the right way. Everybody feeds off each other."

Davis is the consummate professional. He goes to work, never complains and is always supportive of his comrades.

Sure, all enjoy seeing the boys in Red and Blue put seven on the scoreboard, but one touchdown meant a little more when diligence and patience were rewarded the first weekend of November.

After a crucial interception by cornerback Marshay Green halted a scoring opportunity for Auburn, Ole Miss began driving from their opponent's 34-yard line. A 12-play drive resulted in quarterback Jevan Snead connecting with Davis in the right flat for an easy touchdown.

A sideline eruption of epic proportions ensued, with two years worth of frustration relinquished.

"That meant a lot," said Davis. "It showed me that the players know the struggle that players like me - who have to wait - how hard it is to just wait on the sideline. To see me play like that and make a touchdown, they were just as happy as I was. They knew I had waited my turn and continued to be patient."

In a year that saw the sophomore amass 98 yards on 21 carries and two receiving touchdowns, the 5-foot-11, 224 pound Davis has definitely placed his name in the conversation for carries in 2009.

However, with every Rebel running back returning, there is the distinct possibly he could be moved to fullback following the departure of senior Jason Cook.

"It's wherever the wind blows me," he said. "If the coaches want me to play fullback, then I'll try it. I hadn't done it in a while until this year, but if it takes a while to get back in the groove of it then I'll try it.

"Whatever it takes to get the job done, I'm for it."

But no matter the position, Davis will be more than willing to do his part.

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