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  1. #1
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    Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Troy Davis: A legend in his own right
    By: Tommy Birch


    Troy Davis is a Cyclone legend that almost never was.

    One of the most prolific players in ISU history, Davis had his foot out the door of the program several times. In fact, had it not been for unfamiliar weather occurrences, he might not have put it in. Davis, the former ISU running back who ranks at the top of almost every offensive category, was convinced he wanted to be a Cyclone when a snow storm hit Ames during his recruiting trip. More than a decade after that recruiting trip, Davis is being inducted into Iowa State's Hall of Fame.

    "It was a big reason," said Davis who grew up in Miama. "I had never seen snow like that, and I had never seen a blizzard."

    The snow may have brought him to Ames, but on several occasions, the 5-foot-7-inch running back thought of leaving school. When he first arrived in Ames, Davis had trouble adjusting to his new home and even thought of returning to Miami, permanently.

    "Once I got here everything changed," he said. "I was homesick everyday. I wasn't worried about football, I wasn't worried about school, I just wanted to get back home to my family."

    Leaving his bags packed in his dorm at Ames, he ultimately decided to remain in central Iowa. After several trips home to visit his parents and brother Darren, his family convinced him he had made the correct choice.

    That thought didn't last long.

    Under then-head coach Jim Walden, Davis saw limited playing time in 1994. He also watched Iowa State finish his first season 0-10-1. Its closest game was a 31-31 tie at Oklahoma State, and as things continued to go south for the Cyclones, so did Davis' confidence about being in Ames.

    That turned out to be Walden's last season as coach of the Cyclones, and a new era of ISU football began under new coach Dan McCarney - an era of football that essentially centered around Davis.

    "I felt like I wasn't getting the proper chance, but Dan McCarney came in and started thinking about me," Davis said.

    McCarney, who started in 1995, had heard plenty about Davis. Despite his limited playing time the year before, McCarney said he knew Davis was an essential piece to his new team's puzzle. The only problem was fitting that piece in, as the running back was once again considering a move when the coaching change took place.

    "I just sat down man-to-man and said 'Troy, just give me a chance,'" McCarney recalled saying to Davis. "'We're going to run the football, we have a good system in place, I've got a good staff, we know what we're doing and if you don't like what's going on this winter and this spring, I'll help you transfer someplace else.'"

    It took Davis just a few days to come back to McCarney with his answer.

    "Fortunately, he decided to stay and give me a chance, my program a chance, give my coaches a chance, and the rest is history," McCarney said.

    Historic it was.

    In 1995, McCarney's first season with Iowa State and Davis' first season as the starting running back, he rushed for an NCAA-high 2,010 yards and 15 touchdowns. Becoming the first Cyclone running back to surpass the 2,000-yard mark, Davis earned an invitation to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

    For the running back, the invitation alone marked the end to a long journey that began with him on the sidelines in 1994 hearing chants of "We want Davis" from fans. Now, he was going toe-to-toe with some the best college players in the nation for one of the most prestigious awards in the nation.

    "That was wonderful just being there, just having your name voted for the top spot," Davis said. "I mean, my sophomore year, no one thought that I was going to be there, because my freshman year I didn't really do anything."

    While Ohio State quarterback Eddie George took home the award that year, Davis returned back to Miami with high hopes of coming back to Ames his junior season with another dominating season.

    Those hopes translated into success, as he followed up his first 2,000-yard rushing season with another. In 1996, Davis became the only player in NCAA history to record two 2,000-yard rushing seasons when he plowed over opponents for 2,185 yards on the ground. He ended his runs in the ISU end zone 36 times.

    With another trip to New York, Davis thought for sure the Heisman was his this time.

    "I came back in my junior year and I knew that I was going to win this time because this me rushing for 2,000 yards back to back," he said. "There was no way I wasn't going to win the Heisman Trophy."

    McCarney, Davis, his parents and brother Darren returned to New York, and during a Davis family dinner, his mother planned out a location for where the trophy would be put. The spot she chose was an opening right by the front door of the house so visitors would see the award first.

    Unfortunately for Davis, that spot is now occupied with other trophies and pictures of his football accomplishments, as he again lost in the voting. Only 189 votes separated Davis and Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel in the contest, but with dominating back-to-back seasons, the ISU star still believes he should have won.

    "I really don't think anyone is ever going to do that it again," said Davis about rushing for 2,000 yards in consecutive years. "That's why I know the Heisman is mine."

    Even though he left New York without the trophy, Davis said he doesn't let the results bother him.

    "I don't care because this trophy is an individual trophy and doesn't show what our team did and what our record was," he said.

    What Davis did was help propel Iowa State to five wins in McCarney's first two years as head coach, two more than Walden had won in his final two. His success also made ISU football a recognizable name in sports.
    "He brought tremendous national recognition and exposure to Iowa State University," McCarney said.

    The exposure Davis brought to the university also brought attention to him as NFL teams came knocking on the door looking for his services. The running back decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

    Although McCarney was sad to see his star go, he knew it was best for him and his family.

    "There is not a whole lot more he cold have done," he said. "Come back and rush for 2,000 yards again?"

    Instead, the New Orleans Saints selected Davis in the third round of the 1997 draft, making him the 62nd pick overall.

    The success he had in Ames never translated to New Orleans. In three season with the Saints, Davis played in 46 games. The former Cyclone ran for 446 yards and only one touchdown, but was out of the NFL by 2000. Despite his limited success in the league, Davis said he believes it was a matter of bad timing.

    "I knew that I could do that (play), but I think I just got on with the Saints at the wrong time," Davis said. "There wasn't really much blocking there and the running game wasn't there."

    After the NFL, Davis has had stints in the Canadian Football League playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Edmonton Eskimos.

    "Whether it's in Ames, Iowa or Saskatchewan, Canada, it's got to be a lot of fun to watch him play the game," McCarney said.

    These days Davis is the one doing the watching. Currently unemployed, he's still waiting to get back into football but is spending time with his 8-year-old-daughter Troyesha.

    "Right now I'm just sitting back and relaxing," Davis said.
    This weekend he won't be doing much relaxing, as he makes his first trip to Ames in eight years. Instead of watching his brother Darren play, Troy will be accepting his medal into Iowa State's Hall of Fame on Saturday and honored during an on-field halftime ceremony.

    "This is big, I'm not kidding," he said. "In college, the Heisman was there, but getting into the Hall of Fame means you really did something for this program."

    Ryan McGuire, director of special events and letterwinners, said Davis was an easy choice for the selection committee, which needs a 75 percent vote for a candidate to be elected.

    "You can say the name 'Troy Davis' to anybody that considers themselves a Cyclone fan and even those that don't they know what kind of impact he had on the football program here," McGuire said.

    As for McCarney, he said he doesn't know where his program would have gone if Davis wouldn't have stayed.

    "I'll never ever forget what he did for Iowa State," McCarney said. "He jump-started our program."


    B.F.S.R.

  2. #2
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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Good for Troy, he definitely laid the foundation for the next few years of Cyclone football.



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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Troy was an incredibly special player. He gave me some of my most exciting memories of Cyclone football, and put our name on the national stage. I'm glad to see that he is going into the Hall of Fame, which is really a no-brainer. He should be going into the college football hall of fame as well.



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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    how old is this article? Troy & Darren were back in Ames two years ago to accept some honor ... I think this one.



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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    This article was from September, 2007. Sort of weird that it was posted now, but nonetheless still a great article!



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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    "Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)"



    Sooooo...... pretty safe to say Troy hasn't read it?



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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Still PO'd that he didn't win the Heisman that 2nd year. Heck..he didn't even win the darn Doak Walker award either.

    Ridiculous.



  8. #8
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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Troyesha?????



  9. #9
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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryJohnson View Post
    "Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)"



    Sooooo...... pretty safe to say Troy hasn't read it?
    That was low. Wow.



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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Currently unemployed? Wow, the economy must be bad if even Troy Davis cant find work



  11. #11
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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Um, "Ohio State quarterback Eddie George?" Really? Come on...



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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Quote Originally Posted by bkurt58 View Post
    Um, "Ohio State quarterback Eddie George?" Really? Come on...
    ya i know i saw tht too


    B.F.S.R.

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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chizit View Post
    That was low. Wow.

    Unbelievably low. But consider the source.

    Everyone remembers Troy as a great running back, but he was a tremendous blocker as well. I remember against A&M he crushed a blitzing Aggie linebacker (who was about two inches bigger and 25 pounds heavier). I can't recall who the ISU quarterback was, but Davis' block allowed him to throw a great pass to Darren Davis, who made a spectacular catch in the corner of the endzone for a TD.

    Does anyone else remember that play, or Troy Davis' great blocking ability?



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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    Quote Originally Posted by isuno1fan View Post
    Still PO'd that he didn't win the Heisman that 2nd year. Heck..he didn't even win the darn Doak Walker award either.

    Ridiculous.


    Yeah, he finished second to Texas' Ricky Williams for the Doak Walker and to Danny Wuerffel for the Heisman. If I remember right, there were a lot of media people in Iowa -- including Zabel -- who turned in a ballot in the Heisman voting marked their ballot for Wuerffel instead of Davis. Am I wrong on this?



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    Re: Great Troy Davis Read (pretty long)

    So Eddie George was a QB? And, apparently, the reporter wrote everything the way Troy said it.
    "... this me rushing for 2,000 yards back to back."


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