From the University of Chattanooga to Itawamba Community College, Cortez Davis took the long road to become a member of the Rainbow Warrior football team.
A JUCO transfer, Davis has been a standout for Hawaii’s secondary this season, exceeding even his coaching staff’s preseason expectations.
But perhaps more importantly, Hawaii has exceeded Davis’ expectations to this point. And strapping on his pads to represent the ‘Bows is something he takes pride in .
“They’ve exceeded my expectations, to be honest,” Davis said of his time with the program. “The atmosphere in the stadium is really loud and I feel like I played really well in the first couple games, so it’s exceeded my expectations.”
Through four games this season, Davis has been a menace defensively with 20 total tackles including 3.5 tackles for loss – the most by any Warrior this season.
Standing at 3-1 heading into a showdown with Nevada on the road, the Warriors have to be at their best to get a victory in Reno over a tough Nevada side that is coming off a 37-21 win over UTEP last weekend.
No matter the opposition Davis and his teammates face on Saturday, however, he understands his role on gameday – to defend Pride Rock.
“That’s my job. I try to do it and execute it to the best of my ability,” he said. “I think we do a really good job of shutting down the receivers week-to-week, and also swarming to the ball. But we could always have improvements with that.”
Throughout training camp and the first month of the season, Davis has worked to earn the respect of his peers and coaches through hard work on and off the field, embracing head coach Nick Rolovich’s ideology of “Live Aloha, Play Warrior.”
“He loves football; he’s a good person; he works hard,” Rolovich said.
Not only is Davis is a great presence in the Warrior locker room, he’s been someone Rolovich can rely on to make a play in an otherwise inexperienced Hawaii secondary.
“It was a position this year that was very important to us as far as, again, giving our young (defensive backs) an opportunity to grow another year,” Rolovich said. “He’s a competitor. He’s been a real nice addition to the team. Not only just the defense, just the team and to Hawaii because of who he is as a person.”
Hawaii takes on Nevada this Saturday in Reno, Nevada. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. HST and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.