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Scholar and athlete

Micah Davis is an athlete and a scholar. Hehandles the bookish academic life and the bruising footballchallenges as Delta State University’s quarterback withexpertise.

    Davis is a fifth-year senior with a degree in chemistry and premed.Instead of heading for medical school and pursuing a career as anorthopedic surgeon, Davis elected to play football one more yearand help the Statesmen chase an NCAA Division II NationalChampionship.

    Davis and his teammates came close to winning it all last Decemberon a chilly Saturday in Florence, Ala. In a game of ebbs and flows,No. 1-ranked Minnesota-Duluth got a last-second, title-winning,32-yard field goal from David Nadeau, giving the unbeaten Bulldogs(15-0), a thrilling 20-17 triumph.

    Delta State’s Cinderella season ended on a sad note but theStatesmen vowed to return in 2011. The Statesmen totaled 346 yardson 66 plays, with Davis passing for 240 yards on 24-of-35 attempts.He threw two touchdown passes and one interception in theloss. 

    Determination and desire brought the 6-foot-1,200-pound  Davis back tothe sweltering flatlands for one more fling. He studies thestrengths and weaknesses of opposing defenses and dissects themwith surgical skill. On the medical side, he has witnessed over 100hours of surgery at Tulane and Southaven.

    On offense, DSU lost five starters, including two offensivelinemen,  left guardPhillip Yandell and right tackle Jake Zebynewski. Also departed aretwo receivers, Maurice Moore and L.J. Castile who caught 13 TDpasses. Another standout, running back Trevar Deed, was the team’s leading rusher.

    On the bright side, Davis points to big left tackle Harrison Lauerwho protects his blindside. “We have a good group coming back onoffense. Brandon Mooten and Mitchell return to the backfield.”

    Asked for a prognosis on the 2011 campaign, Davis predicted, “Ithink we will be better. The coaches have done a great job ofrecruiting and bringing in new players to fill thosepositions.”

    Davis, 22, said the Statesmen lost about two starters ondefense.

    Delta State changed offensive coordinators after last season butDavis said he feels comfortable with newcomer Greg Stevens. “It(offense) was actually some of the similar stuff my dad (GlennDavis) runs at Co-Lin.”

    After two years of playing for his father at Co-Lin, Davis signedwith Delta State but he was redshirted. It was a strange feelingnot being on the field on game days.

    “It kind of worked out well,” said Davis. “Everything fell intoplace. It gave me a year to get stronger and understand the systembetter.”

    Davis was on the President’s List his  second semester and would havegraduated with honors on the day of the National Championshipgame.

    Stevens said Davis brings several attributes to the quarterbackposition. “First off, Micah’s a great person and a good kid. Hegets excellent grades. He dos everything he is asked to do.

    “As a quarterback, he is very intelligent. He’s real accurate andknows the game well. He’s a good decision maker. He’s been aroundthe game his whole life.”

    Davis isn’t the quickest QB but he’s strong and runs withauthority.

    “Micah runs better than people think,” said Stevens. “He had a35-yard touchdown run against North Alabama.”

    There are six quarterbacks on the team this year. Four of the sixwill be true freshmen. The other veteran QB is Kevin Bye who waswith DSU in the spring. He was redshirted last year.

    Wide receiver Carlton Ollie, a former Co-Lin standout, will beback.

    “We should be deeper and a little stronger up front than lastyear,” said Stevens. “We’ve got the same kickers back: Matt Deanand Matt Snider.”

    DSU head coach Ron Roberts said Davis has steadily improved hisquarterbacking skills. “Micah has been a tremendous player on thefield. The way he represented our football program off the field isa great bonus for us. He’s an asset to our program.

    “Micah is an extension of our offensive coordinator (Stevens) onthe field,” Roberts continued. “He’s a coach’s son. Those are a fewof the intangibles that help him be a great quarterback forus.”

    Roberts said the Statesmen are aiming for another banner campaign.”We have a great core group of players back. It all depends on howwe jell together and keep our sights set on our goals.”

    Davis said he plans to do some graduate work. “I’ll take a coupleof business classes.”

    After the season, Davis said, “I usually go back to our cabin inGoodman, with my dad. We hunt and fish there.”

    Ann Shelby Davis joins her brother this year on the Clevelandcampus. A sophomore, she plays basketball for the Lady Statesmen.That means their parents will be spending more time inCleveland.