Story by Trey Martin
The crowd erupted with chants of “Stephen Davis” echoing throughout Dutch Fork Stadium after the senior athlete scored a touchdown. Making big plays is nothing new for Stephen, a four-star recruit committed to SEC powerhouse Auburn.
“Other teams always keep in mind that he’s going to make a big play,” said senior Clayton Jones.
That play-making ability was enough to earn Stephen Davis an invite to The Opening over the summer. Held at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, The Opening showcases elite high school football recruits, building their skills and introducing them to the lifestyle of being a college football star.
“My learning experience at The Opening was great,” said Stephen, “I brought some talent back and learned from great coaches.”
Stephen Davis learned from great talent, including New England Patriots Willie McGinest and current NFL safety Richard Sherman. The skills Stephen brought back have not gone unnoticed by the Dutch Fork coaches.
“He brought back some new skills that he learned from the coaches that were there, and he brought back an attitude like the people that were there wanted,” said Offensive coach Bucky Tillotson.
The Opening offers a unique experience for players, giving them the ability to connect with other recruits that are going through the same recruiting process.
“The other guys and I had a good time. We talked about our schools, what we do, and how we do things.” said Stephen.
Stephen Davis is being recruited by many top colleges, including Auburn, South Carolina, Clemson, and Georgia. The coaches believe that Stephen’s spotlight is beneficial to the whole team.
“College recruiters know the top recruits, but sometimes it gives those guys a chance to look at talents that the recruiters didn’t know about. It’s like advertising yourself. A lot of players in the past have been recruited because a recruiter was looking at someone else and they saw another player,” Tillotson said.
The players also agree that the attention Stephen gets is helpful to the team as a whole.
“Steve brings a lot of attention to the team, and that lets people see the whole team’s talent,” said Clayton.
Stephen’s big summer has put him in the position to be one of the leaders on the football team this season, and his teammates are behind him.
“He brings a lot of leadership and experience back to both the offense and defense this season,” said junior Shane Savage.
Coaches stated that the spotlight has not impacted Davis, who is handling the pressure well.
When asked how he is dealing with leadership roles and the recruiting spotlight, Stephen simply replied, “I’m just going out there to compete.”