WIDENER UNIVERSITY wide receiver and kick returner Anthony Davis keeps a nonchalant attitude about his dynamic play on the field, but the senior is definitely deserving of attention for his stellar contributions to the Pride during his collegiate career.
Davis, a preseason Division III All-American selection by The Sporting News and the reigning Middle Atlantic Conference Player of the Year, is rewriting his school's football record books this season. He broke Widener's career marks for receptions and all-purpose yards in September. Famed Houston Oiler Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, one of the NFL players credited for popularizing the touchdown dance, had owned the all-purpose yards mark for Widener in a college career that spanned 1970-73. Johnson had held the record with 5,404 career yards.
Being talented enough to break those records doesn't faze Davis, who continually reiterates that his team's win-loss record is his main focus.
"There are a lot of people congratulating me on the records and everything I'm accomplishing, but I tend to pay no mind to it," Davis said. "I'm just trying to help my team win as best as I can."
Widener coach Mike Kelly agreed that Davis is handling the attention well.
Kelly said, "Anthony is a good football player on a good football team and has proven to be a humble teammate that is functioning well within his role."
With those national accolades and recording-breaking performances ultimately comes greater attention from opponents. Davis sees that defenses are now paying more attention to him anytime he steps on the field.
"I expected that I would do what I've done before in previous years. I've gotten off to a slow start," Davis said. "A lot of teams are keying in on me. I've had difficulties, but the team's winning, so I'm grateful for that."
Davis, who said that he has been faced with double coverage from defenses often this season, seems to be figuring out how to overcome teams that are specifically scheming against him. He has 29 catches for 469 yards.
In a 44-0 rout over Misericordia on Saturday, Davis hauled in eight catches for 143 yards and scored three touchdowns. Davis caught a 63-yard touchdown from quarterback Seth Klein in the first quarter, giving Widener a 7-0 lead it never relinquished.
Last week's nonconference domination could be a turning point for Davis, who attended Chester High. As his coaches and quarterbacks understand how to better utilize him under the high defensive pressure, the more successful Widener will be. Widener has a bye this week and hosts Wilkes at 1 p.m. Oct. 18 in its homecoming game.
The team has prevailed through those difficulties on the way to a 5-0 record, a scary thought for other schools, given that Davis is just now figuring out how to make defenses pay for wrapping him in double coverage. Davis agrees and expects Widener to continue their success as the season progresses.