In what was a step-in-the-right-direction season for the Central High School football team last year, one sequence stands out.
It featured two of its stars, wide receiver Jordan Davis and his brother, quarterback Johnny Davis. Down 31-29 in the final minute against Onalaska at UW-La Crosse, Central’s home field, the Davis brothers connected four times for 77 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown to seal a big comeback win for the Red Raiders.
Jordan Davis had to jump between two Hilltoppers defensive backs to make the catch. His 6-foot-4 frame, his speed and his ability to win those 50-50 balls down the field made him a hot prospect for college football coaches.
But standing at Central’s practice field on Tuesday — the first day of practices for high school football teams across the state — Jordan Davis spoke about the relief he felt when he and Johnny agreed to take scholarship offers from University of Wisconsin basketball coach Greg Gard.
“I’m not pressured anymore to make a decision on where I’m going to college. I can just be a kid again and work on what’s coming in the future,” Jordan said.
“People were asking me almost every day about what I was going to do, especially once the Wisconsin offer came. But it’s great. I’m just relaxing now.”
Jordan has been a key figure in the Red Raiders’ three consecutive trips to the WIAA Division 2 state basketball tournament, which included a championship win in 2017. But his prowess on the football field made his recruiting process a bit more challenging.
Toward the end of it, he was being recruited even harder for football than basketball. But the Wisconsin basketball offer — and the opportunity to continue playing with Johnny and fellow Central product Kobe King with the Badgers — was the right fit, he said.
Central coach Tony Servais, who is also an assistant coach for the basketball team, said he could see Jordan and Johnny’s excitement regarding their college decision. He thinks that should translate to a stress-free senior season in both sports.
“They’re really focused on football now, and I know coach Gard made the same comment, ‘Go play football,’” Servais said. “I think it’s made them better basketball players to be honest with you. They’re not afraid of contact and it’s certainly a dual benefit for both sports.”
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Whatever pressure Jordan felt regarding his college choices, he didn’t show it on the football field.
After losing all but two quarters of his sophomore season due to a broken ankle, Davis posted 48 catches for 872 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, including 154 yards on 8 catches in Central’s loss to Monona Grove in the second round of the playoffs. He was a first-team All-MVC and All-Tribune selection, along with earning WFCA all-state honorable mention.
He’s a player that draws the attention of the defense on every play, a distinction that he says motivates him to give even more effort.
“It just means I have to put it in an extra gear and go harder, run harder routes,” he said.
Davis isn’t alone as a weapon in the Red Raiders’ offense.
Johnny Davis is arguably the best dual-threat quarterback in the area and one of the best in the state. Peter Fleming is primed to take over as the lead running back after a strong season. And Terrance Thompson, a Division I basketball prospect who stands 6-7, has joined the team for the first time since enrolling at Central.
“I think our receiving corps is going to be really good this year,” Jordan Davis said. “And we’ve got Peter Fleming at running back, and Johnny back there at QB, so he can either run the ball or throw the ball. I think we’ll be a good threat.”
When news broke of the Davis twins agreeing to scholarships with the Badgers, there was chatter regarding if they’d play football for Central this season. But Jordan brushed it off on Tuesday.
“It’s probably going to be my last time playing football at an organized, high level,” he said. “I just want to play.”