Gettin’ Dirty with Darius Davis
By: Preston McClellan
When Darius Davis peers into the future, he can see himself wearing a suit and tie to work each day. He doesn’t think he would mind doing that.
For those who cross his path these days on the football field, the sooner Davis dons that suit, the better. That’s because he knows only one way to play the game and those who have felt his intensity understand his approach.
Darius Davis likes to get ‘wild’ on the field.
“I’m vocal out there, ” Davis said. “At times you just have to get wild.”
His on-the-field antics and breakneck pace of play have led Coach Larry Porter to start referring to him as the “energizer bunny.”
That’s a far cry from the nickname amongst his teammates and opponents.
“They call me Dirty D,” Davis said.
Davis was dubbed with that handle after coming back from a devastating elbow injury prior to his freshman year at Whitehaven High School.
“Towards the end of my eighth grade year at Havenview (Middle School), I dislocated my elbow,” Davis recalled.
Davis is reminded every day of the pain and recovery he went through by a massive scar on his elbow.
The injury sidelined Davis for most of his eighth grade season, but after surgery and rehab, Davis was ready to get “wild.”
He entered fall football camp at Whitehaven High School and began competing against all the upperclassmen.
“I was out there being aggressive, physical, even reckless,” Davis said. “I just didn’t care–I was going all out.”
From that point on, Davis has been known as “Dirty D,” a moniker he uses as fuel for hitting people on the field.
“I get out on the field and I get into that style of play–that Dirty D style,” Davis said.
Davis quickly backed up his nickname with his physicality and effectiveness on the gridiron. He was named the captain of the Whitehaven High squad his junior and senior seasons and was selected as the top defensive player at WHS.
Davis’ style translated to the Division One level as well, and he has become a fixture in the Tiger secondary over the past four seasons.
Though naturally more comfortable playing cornerback, Davis has found himself at safety most of the past two seasons. Davis started the 2010 season opener against Mississippi State at cornerback, recording five total tackles and an assist on a tackle for a loss.
An injury the following week in practice sidelined Davis for three games, however, and when he came back, the team’s needs had shifted.
“It’s a bittersweet situation,” Davis explained. “Your heart is one spot, but you have to make sacrifices to help the team. I’ve been doing it since I’ve been here.”
In the past three plus seasons donning the blue and gray, Davis has seen action in 36 games, making 13 starts. Last season, Davis was fifth on the team in tackles (54) and tied for third in pass breakups (5).
Off the field, Davis is more reserved and relishes his down time with family and friends.
“If I’m not doing something with football, I’m just relaxing,” Davis said. “Football and school take so much out of you that it’s nice to have some time to relax.”
Davis will graduate this year with a degree in Communications, and plans to pursue a career professionally. If that doesn’t work out, Davis wants to put that degree to work.
“I could see myself in a nine-to-five business man style job,” Davis said. “I wouldn’t mind putting on a suit everyday and being behind the scenes.”
-This article appeared in the Nov. 6 edition of the Memphis football gameday program.