BY DREW CHAMPLIN | email@example.com
TROY – Kanorris Davis has been hounded by injuries, most of them minor, since he started playing football at Troy. His remedy for the pain is simple: put on a happy face.
“A positive attitude will help you heal faster and it keeps the worry out of the family,” said Davis, now a senior linebacker for the Trojans. “I don’t want my mama to worry. It frustrated me a lot because I do everything I’m supposed to and play the game right. I give it all to make sure I don’t get hurt, but it seems like something always happen.”
Davis has missed at least one game in his three years due to injury, but his most serious injury came in the second-to-last game last season at Western Kentucky, when his hard collision with WKU tight end Jack Doyle resulted in a dislocated right ankle, broken fibula and torn ankle ligaments.
“I was mad and calm at the same time that it didn’t even phase me,” Davis said. “(Head trainer) Chuck (Ash) said, ‘We’re going to have to pop it back in place.’
“The woman who was there said, ‘Chuck, this guy is brave right here. He can take some pain.’ I was like, ‘You don’t even know what I’ve been through. Pain is nothing to me.’”
If that injury was tough to see, the happy ending was the lengths Davis went to recover fully. Head coach Larry Blakeney expects Davis to have no effects from the injury as the Trojans head into the 2012 season.
In fact, Davis was cleared by doctors on April 17, just in time to participate in Troy’s Junior Pro Day and not even five months after the ankle injury. In his first run in the 40-yard dash, he ran a 4.4 (seconds).
“I think this injury is a thing of the past, as far as affecting him athletically,” Blakeney said. “Kanorris is so full-speed. He’s wide open all the time, which is a great thing.”
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Davis is a physical freak of nature, as anyone associated with Troy will tell you. He’s listed at 5-foot-10 and 203 pounds and not afraid of anything, whether it be standing up to the team or gearing up for a career with the SWAT team after his football days are over with his criminal justice background.
Davis takes pride in preparing his body for the rigors of football with a strong weight room ethic and steady diet, resulting in nearly zero percent body fat. But the injuries still came. He had ankle surgery as a sophomore and missed all but one play in a game last year because of a sprained left ankle. He’s battled groin and quad injuries, as well as others, throughout his career, but only knows how to go one speed on the field.
“When you’re in a game and you’re having fun and running around and you’re getting hit and hitting, with contact throughout the game, something’s bound to happen,” Davis said. “I keep that in my head so I won’t get frustrated and when I do get hurt, it’ll be because of me going 110 (percent).”
Blakeney said he’s past the point of trying to get Davis to slow down in practice, and that’s not a bad thing.
“You can’t go around protecting too much or you’ll have bad luck,” Blakeney said. “I’m not going to try to coach him to slow down.”
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Davis hasn’t slowed down academically, either. He was declared ineligible as a freshman at Troy and had to spend the entire 2008-09 school year away from team activities as he worked his way up from non-qualifier status.
He did just that, and is six hours away from getting his criminal justice degree. In high school, Davis didn’t learn the value of academics until it was too late, as the level of classes he took early on wasn’t high enough to be eligible for college athletics.
On the field at Perry County (Ga.) High School, Davis was a machine. His four-year career as a varsity player yielded him 398 tackles, some school records for single-season tackles and sacks and several all-region and all-state honors.
At 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds early in high school, Davis was a dominant force at defensive tackle before moving to linebacker as a senior. He never picked up a weight until he started playing football in eighth grade, gaining strength as a young child by climbing up trees.
Soon enough, he had surpassed his teammates in bench press max numbers, and though he wasn’t the ideal size, he was playing on the defensive line.
“(Bigger guys) didn’t want it as bad as I did,” Davis said. “I just came in and did work and the coach told me (as a freshman), you won’t ever have to worry about playing with JV again.
“He said, ‘You’re going to leave your friends behind because you outworked them and you proved yourself.’”
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Colleges started calling after Davis’ junior year. Purdue offered a scholarship. Others did as well, but most pulled back because of academic concerns and the fact he hadn’t played much at linebacker. Troy stayed true to him, and Davis signed with the Trojans.
He started his career as a special teams monster, causing two fumbles on punt returns in a key 30-27 win at Arkansas State in 2009. Coaches eventually put in a special blitz package for him that year, but he moved into the starting lineup permanently last season, earning honorable mention all-conference honors.
Davis is hoping to make a career in the National Football League, and has a pretty good chance.
“Coach (Richard) Shaughnessy told me if I can stay healthy, there’s a legit chance I’ll get invited to a camp,”
Davis said. “Proving myself won’t be a problem. I can do that. If I can (get to an NFL camp), that would be a blessing because I want to do a lot for my mama. I want to retire my mama (works two jobs as a cafeteria worker and for a nursing home) and my daddy (welder). That’s my main goal, but I have backups.”
The backups, of course, are to join the SWAT team because “it’s aggressive. Kicking down doors, bulletproof vests, you name it.”
He’s already cemented his place as one of Blakeney’s favorites.
“This guy had worked hard to go to college and do everything he’s done,” Blakeney said. “He’s one of my all-time favorite guys.
“He is a bona fide leader. He is not afraid of anything or anybody or to say anything to anybody and he will stand up to the team. I have seen it myself. He is a coach’s dream in that regard.”