High School Football

Katy RB Davis finds fit at SFA

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 2/1/21

Since he was a little boy playing college football video games and watching college football games on TV when he wasn’t attending Katy High School football games, Jalen Davis dreamed of playing on Saturdays.

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High School Football

Katy RB Davis finds fit at SFA

Posted

Since he was a little boy playing college football video games and watching college football games on TV when he wasn’t attending Katy High School football games, Jalen Davis dreamed of playing on Saturdays.

“There was a drive and a passion for it,” Davis said.

So, when the Katy High senior running back verbally committed to Stephen F. Austin on Jan. 27, just 11 days after helping lead the Tigers to the Class 6A-Division II state championship, Davis felt “relief.” A lifelong dream was reached for Davis, who plans to major in kinesiology and minor in business and will sign his letter of intent to the Lumberjacks on Wednesday.

“Everything worked out,” Davis said. “You know how the recruiting process is and you don’t know where you’re going to settle down and where your future is going to be. Now I know where I’m at and I can focus on getting back to work and training and getting better.”

Stephen F. Austin recruiting coordinator Philip Vigil established a relationship with Davis last summer. Since then, there have been plenty of FaceTime calls and “great talks,” Davis said.

Davis attended a game in Nacogdoches and was immediately sold on the tradition and supportive fanbase, two things he identified with Katy. He was enamored with head coach Colby Carthel’s energy.

“I’m really going to come in and soak it all in,” Davis said. “Grind every day and work my best at everything they want me to do. Whatever happens, happens. I think they have a running back coming back, but I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do.”

The Lumberjacks liked Davis’ ability to attack the ‘A’ and ‘B’ gaps as a downhill runner. He liked the opportunity to show off more of his ability.

“I think I can catch the ball out of the backfield more than people think,” Davis said. “We didn’t really run that at Katy, but I know how to be versatile. I’m training on my top-end speed and I can’t wait to show everything and work hard and have fun.”

The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder rushed for 1,518 yards and 25 touchdowns in 13 games for the Tigers this year, averaging eight yards per carry. It was only his second season at running back.

In the state championship game, Davis rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

“To have a successful season, you need the growth and maturity of players like Jalen Davis,” head coach Gary Joseph said. “Jalen was one of those kids you didn’t know about and we felt like he’d be a good football player. To watch his work ethic and his work habits, it was good. Those are the kinds of things that make you feel like you’ve accomplished something (as a coach). It’s kids like that that you have to have come through to be successful.”

Davis played running back at WoodCreek Junior High, but when he got to Katy, Joseph moved him to defense. Davis played safety as a freshman and sophomore, and spot outside linebacker for a few weeks his sophomore year.

Davis liked playing in the secondary, flying downhill and attacking ballcarriers. But he was most comfortable in the offensive backfield.

“It’s people trying to get me down instead of me trying to go get people down,” Davis said. “I can be in control.”

When star tailback Deondrick Glass graduated after the 2018 season, Joseph put Davis back at running back and he paired alongside senior transfer Ron Hoff for the Tigers’ 1-2 tandem that season. Running backs coach Kevin Garvin, who long believed Davis had the talent to be a No. 1 back, took Davis under his wing.

“I learned stuff off the field with him more than anything,” Davis said of Garvin. “It’s the way he carries himself and expects you to do the little things. Don’t be late to classes, stay on top of your grades, be disciplined, have morals. That stuff translates to the field. He’s a great coach. He’ll never lie to you and he always keeps it real.”

Davis finished his two-year career as a Katy running back with 2,464 yards and 37 touchdowns on 332 carries, an average of 7.4 yards per tote, easily justifying Garvin’s faith in him. He was selected to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl all-star game at AT&T Stadium on Jan. 25, allowing time to reminisce about when he had last touched that same field during Katy’s state title win over Cedar Hill just nine days before.

“I’m just grateful and thankful with the way everything happened,” Davis said. “It was a great experience to win it all for a community like this and coaches like this. It’s good to go out on top as a senior.”

With his state championship ring ordered and future settled, Davis can now do what he loves to do: get to work.

“Train, train, train,” he said. “Finish the school year off right. Work every day. There’s always room for improvement, from explosion to cuts to vertical work. Weight room. There’s still a lot to get done.”

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