Dec. 26, 2008
By Nate Rakoczy
NIU Media Relations
When Britt Davis takes the field at the Independence Bowl Sunday to take on Louisiana Tech, the wide receiver's last four years will flash through his mind. For Davis, the last four years have been filled with ups and downs, but it's a learning experience that the senior will always remember.
He came to Northern Illinois University as a dual-threat quarterback who could use both his arm and feet as weapons. At Riverside-Brookfield, Davis produced over 7,700 yards of total offense to go along with 90 touchdowns in 22 starts and led his team to two Class 5A playoff appearances.
The Broadview native, along with the Huskie faithful, thought that former coach Joe Novak had recruited the future quarterback of the NIU program. Davis was one of the top ranked players at his position in the Midwest, was a two-time All State selection by the IHSA coaches as well as numerous Chicago area papers and was named the Suburban Prairie Conference MVP his senior campaign. But with fellow redshirt freshman Dan Nicholson and senior Phil Horvath battling it for the quarterback position during Davis' redshirt year, Britt started taking reps at wide receiver.
Novak once stated that Davis was one of the most athletic players he had ever seen and he would be no use to the team sitting on the bench.
Davis' athleticism did not disappoint. He caught a freshmen record 42 balls for 441 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first collegiate season and caught a ball in all 12 Huskie games that season.
One of his favorite moments as a Huskie came during the 2005 campaign when the Huskies traveled to the Glass Bowl in Toledo.
"I remember watching the Toledo game on the sidelines when I was redshirting," Davis said. "They just completely whopped us the entire game and no one ever wants to lose to a hated team. That entire week, I found out what it meant to face Toledo. I circled that game on my calendar for the next year, I couldn't wait for it."
NIU had lost the last 11 matchups against the Rockets and hadn't won in Toledo since 1989. But this time the Huskie proved to be the better team and rolled to a 35-17 win.
"It was one of the best wins I've ever been a part of," he said. "It meant so much to the program, the coaches, the older guys and all the fans."
The next year came around and Davis proved to coaches and fans that he was the top receiver for the Huskies. He caught 57 balls for 731 yards for three touchdowns. He averaged over 12 yards a catch and also broke the school record for most catches by a sophomore. He also received honorable mention All-MAC.
Unfortunately for Davis, a hamstring injury cut his junior season short as he missed three straight games in the middle of the year. But the junior captain still ranked second on the team, behind Matt Simon, with 391 receiving yards.
Coming into the 2008 season, Davis was tied for ninth all-time for career receptions as a Huskie. This season he has passed John Spilis (1966-68), Gary Stearns (1960-63) on the all-time receptions list. He is fifth all time with 145 career receptions.
As his Huskie career comes to an end, Davis is looking to make his mark on the program. Just like how he looked up to Sam Hurd as a freshman, current freshmen receivers Ron Walker and Tommy Davis are looking up to him.
"Ever since my sophomore year I've been trying to put a big emphasis on helping out the younger guys, showing them the ropes on the field and outside of football," Davis said. "Danny (Nicholson) and I had to figure a lot of stuff out on our own freshmen year so we were kind of lost, I'm just trying to help the guys have a smooth transition so they can succeed in the future."
The last four years for Britt is something that he will cherish forever.
"All four years have been a learning experience. I had the chance to meet a lot of people that I'll talk to for the rest of my life. Every person who comes through this program becomes a better man. The man that I am today comes from being a Huskie."
Davis has come far for a kid who started playing football his freshmen year of High School. He never could have imagined being where he is at today. And all the credits go to his parents.
"My Mom has sacrificed so much for me to be here at this level right now in my life," he said. "She's gone through a lot with the things she had to endure from me. Both my parents have always been there to talk no matter what."
On December 28, as he takes the field with his teammates one last time, he will be focused on getting a win against Louisiana Tech, but at the same time he knows that it will be quite emotional.
"I'm just taking the season one game at a time, but I know the day is soon approaching and I don't want it to come since it's been a great ride," said Davis, "I've met people I'll always remember and never forget the times we've had on and off the field.
"But I'll always be bleeding cardinal red and black. I'll never stop being a Huskie."