At the start of the 2014 football season, few teams knew the name Tommy Davis.
He was just a 6-foot-3, 320-pound right guard in a pass-happy offense at a tiny Lutheran school in southern Indiana.
It didn’t take long for that to change.
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Now, Davis is going to play in the state’s most coveted All-Star game as the first representative in Trinity Lutheran football history.
Davis was recently named to the 2015 Community Chrysler of Martinsville All-Star Football Classic’s South team, which will play July 17 at North Central High School in Indianapolis.
Voted on by coaches from across Indiana, the game hosts some of the best football players in the state combining all six classes.
The Cougars senior is one of five Class A players on the South roster.
Davis began last year’s football season with a chip on his shoulder.
“Its an honor to be there and play there with some of the best guys in the state,” Davis said. “It’s funny, at the beginning of the season there’s a football preview book. It goes through the sections, and in Class 1A I wasn’t one of the players to watch in our sectional. I feel like I got notoriety throughout the season. It felt like no one, outside of (Jackson County), knew who I was.”
From his junior to his senior year, Davis focused on improving his strength and gaining mass. He went from 280 pounds to 320 pounds.
The 2014 season also yielded a new challenge for Davis, as he was moved from the left tackle to right guard — the first time he’d ever played at the position.
“I got a lot more strength and moved to the interior of the line,” Davis said. “I could just move people around easier. At tackle, you have to deal with a lot of smaller, quicker guys, and you had to catch them on angles. At the guard, the position is still about angles, but it’s more that you have to push the guy off the line.”
If you have attended a Cougars football game, you know Cougars coach Anthony Levy’s game plan relies on a gun-slinging offense.
Last season, in six games, Levy said the Cougars threw the ball 671 times.
On those attempts, Davis gave up just one sack.
“It was more of a better position for him,” Levy said. “We relied on him to really protect the quarterback’s backside. Once he really started developing we tapped into it. We knew that’s where he would be recruited at. He was a pretty good tackle, but a damn good guard.”
Both Davis and Levy recognized the all-star team honor will help build the program’s respect with other schools.
“It gives us recognition across the state,” Levy said. “Where it gives us the most recognition is amongst the colleges and other high school coaches. The public doesn’t understand the dynamics that goes into it but to colleges and other coaches, they know. Tommy is a product of the program. Really, for us being so young, the program is a product of Tommy.
“We’ve all done the work, but no more as much as he has — he’s the most deserving one. He works like a coach and an all-star. When you put in that type of effort, you get those type of results.”
In 2012, Davis was named an instant captain with his prior football experience.
Since that time, he’s acted as a player-coach for the Cougars.
“He coached the offensive line all fall last year,” Levy said. “I’ve never seen that before. I knew he could handle it.”
The last county player to attend the showcase game was Brownstown Central’s Steffen Lewis, a kicker, in 2011.
On top of the All-Star game, Davis recently announced he will play college football at DePauw University while studying political science and business administration.
After transferring to Trinity from Seymour following his freshman year, Davis began believing in his abilities and realized he couldn’t imagine life without football following high school.
“Sophomore year is when I started thinking about playing college football,” Davis said. “I didn’t want to be done when I was 18-years-old. I visited it before senior year and fell in love with the college. I decided about a month ago that it’s the place for me.”
In the past two years, excluding the introductory first season, the Cougars have sent six of 11 seniors to college football programs.
This spring, Davis will throw in the shot put and discus events on Trinity Lutheran’s track team.
Following the all-star game, he will have three weeks of preparation for football. He has already slimmed down 20 pounds in hopes of being in better shape for DePauw before joining the team.
“Tommy Davis is a product of the program. Really, for us being so young, the program is a product of Tommy. “We’ve all done the work, but no more as much as he has — he’s the most deserving one. He works like a coach and an All-Star. When you put in that type of effort, you get those type of results.”
Trinity Lutheran football coach Anthony Levy
On Tommy Davis