NFL draft season is upon us and each year teams look for that diamond in the rough that can make a significant impact for their team. For Illinois State quarterback Brady Davis, he is no stranger to being counted out. His confidence, however, is unwavering and he expects to be counted on at the next level.
Canal Street Chronicles had the opportunity to chat with the 6’4 210 pound senior quarterback and we discussed his journey that took him from Mississippi to Illinois, his NFL QB comparison, and why Chicago Deep Dish pizza is unrivaled.
CSC: With the NFL Draft this month, what has you approach been leading up to the draft? You had your Pro Day a couple of weeks ago so from a training standpoint and film study aspect, what has that been like?
BD: Yeah so it’s been awesome. I’ve gotten to work with quarterback country trainer Thomas Morris in Nashville who’ve I’ve known for 4 or 5 years now and we’ve have a great relationship even before this. He did a lot for me before I was getting ready to go to Illinois State and so we put a lot of work in together. I was also at Boost Performance in Nashville with trainers Jordan Luallen and William Cooper and they were awesome as well. Those guys have put out really good numbers and that place is definitely on the rise. It’s been a lot of time watching film and throwing everyday and going through our training schedule three days a week. Spent about 2 and half months there and really just preparing myself for this upcoming draft.
CSC: Not to steal a cheesy Tony Stark line from the Avengers movie, but in it he says that part of the journey is the end. Your college journey didn’t start at Illinois State so for people who don’t know the Brady Davis story, tell us a little bit about your journey.
BD: Yeah i started out at Memphis which seems forever ago after i left high school in Mississippi. I spent three years there which is about the same amount of time i spent here at Illinois State. I made some of my best friends there. When i got married and had a wedding a bunch of my Memphis friends were standing right there. I learned a lot there. I got to watch Paxton Lynch have a huge year and get drafted, then i watched Riley Ferguson, who was in my wedding, play for a couple years and I learned a lot from him as well. It just wasn’t the place for me to play for whatever reason. I had injuries I dealt with and was just never fully healthy for a season there. I saw the writing on the wall and how I had sorta been skipped over at that point. I really enjoyed my time at Memphis and was appreciative of Coach Fuente for giving me an opportunity. Then i wound up transferring which not much buzz around my name since not much had been heard of me since my high school days in Mississippi. But I was confident in my abilities so I sent my tape out to find the best FCS program that would give me a chance to start and be able to play right away without sitting a year out. Illinois State was the best opportunity for me to play in the Missouri Valley Conference and I got to do that for a couple of years.
CSC: You mention the injuries. 2016 you go down with the left knee injury and you are forced to miss the season. You work hard and rehab to fully come back healthy in 2018. You start all 10 games and throw 19 touchdowns. The next season you start 11 games, but in the home finale, you suffer another season ending injury. Where was your mind at that point after suffering yet another gruesome injury after you had worked so hard to come back the first time?
BD: Yeah, I didn’t want to believe it. Not too many people know this, but that injury happened actually earlier in the game than when I came out. I can always tell people I threw a couple touchdowns on a torn ACL. My knee just kept buckling and I knew deep down, but in my head I just didn’t want to believe it. It was really frustrating , but I had the mindset ok, 4,5 months I will come back and be ready to go for summer training camp. So it was frustrating, but I kind of just flipped the script and attacked it. It went a lot better than the first surgery and now I’m even healthier than after the first injury. I feel like I’m in the best spot health wise and performance wise now.
CSC: I turn on the tape and the thing that sticks out the most is the arm talent. You have a major arm and can really push the ball downfield without issue. Even more impressive is you push the ball downfield with accuracy. At the next level, most of the guys have big arms, so what other intangibles set you apart at the QB position?
BD: I think just processing the mental part of it, getting a day 1 install a day 2, a day 3 and being able to take what we learn in practice and execute that during the game. You know me coming in possibly third or fourth quarterback in the room and working hard to execute things correctly in practice. You have to be sharp in the mental game to make that split decision whether to push the ball downfield or check down. Over time how much I spend studying this game and how much I love this game I shouldn’t have too many issues with going in Day 1 having that confidence to grasp the knowledge of the system. I was able to do that in Hawaii when I played in the Hula Bowl, I was able to grasp Chip Kelly’s scheme when Mark Sanchez was our offensive coordinator and I was able to show all week what I can do and that’s the mindset I’ll have to have coming into training camp this fall.
CSC: Let me know if I’m crazy, but I see a lot of Matthew Stafford in you. Big arm, can make all the throws at different arm angles, and is sneakily deceptive in the pocket. Anyone in particular you modeled your game after or just looked up to and said that person plays the quarterback position the right way?
BD: It’s cool you said that about Stafford. I won’t say I modeled my game after him, but I’ll always will bring him up in a conversation when people talk about Rodgers or whoever else has that freaky ability to throw the football at a high level. Yeah, I’m like that’s Matthew Stafford. He’s so tough and he’s a leader, he battles through stuff and through injuries and he can throw that ball at the biggest moments. He’s been doing it for so long and that’s a guy I always mention when people ask me that question.
I finally got to sit down and watch #IllinoisState QB Brady Davis' film, after being exposed to him at the @Hula_Bowl a few weeks ago, he's one of my favorite late round QB's.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) February 12, 2021
✅Makes throws at all three levels
✅Mobility outside pocket
✅Big time arm strength
Love his film. pic.twitter.com/5DZocGDTsM
CSC: Now on to areas of improvement. What have you been working on currently in order to get better at the next level?
BD: Really just trying to go back and watch NFL tape and see the mix of coverages and the different things they throw at you and picking up on how fast it is. Also watching my personal tape of were I went wrong especially in the 2019 season. We had a lot of injuries especially at receiver, O-Line, and eventually me, but we and me in particular didn’t play as well as we should have the whole year. So I’ve been dialing into that and seeing where I can get better.
CSC: NFL Draft weekend. Your phone rings and a NFL team says Brady we are choosing you to play quarterback for us. What is a NFL team going to get when choosing Brady Davis?
BD: Man, there going to get a guy who just loves this game and loves being around a football team. He is going to treat everyone the right way, being able to adapt and be cool with everybody. Being able to be a likeable person and a guy who grinds it out and loves football and will put in the extra time and be happy to do anything he is asked. I’ll never consider it a job. This is not a job. I’ll be fulfilling a dream to do something that I Iove more than anything.
CSC: Last question and it’s time to put you on the hot seat. You may make some people upset about this one. You spent some time in Memphis in college. Illinois State is a little more than 2 hours away from Chicago. I need an honest answer here. Memphis BBQ or Chicago Deep Dish pizza?
BD: Hmmm... I will say this. Food wise, everything is better in the South. BBQ, chicken wings, fried food, soul food, everything. But that deep dish pizza was kind of life changing for me. If I end up somewhere back South, I’m probably gonna stop eating pizza. I’ll give Memphis BBQ maybe a little heads up, but that Illinois pizza is something special.
With unwavering confidence and a never give up attitude, Brady Davis is looking to be something special too. Could he be someone the New Orleans Saints consider in the later rounds or as an undrafted free agent? Stay tuned to the 2021 NFL Draft and find out.
Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Instagram at @SaintsCSC and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel.