A four-year starter at Wisconsin, running back Anthony Davis scored 42 touchdowns and rushed for 4,676 yards, second in school history only to Ron Dayne, college football's all-time leading rusher.
The only thing that slowed him down at Wisconsin were injuries — a fractured orbital socket and a thigh contusion. Davis graduated with degrees in elementary education and African-American studies and carried a 4.0 GPA into his senior year. These days, Davis works in Charlotte as a case worker for The Right Choice, an organization that mentors disadvantage youth.
He told me that the level of competition in pre-season NFL games is higher than the Canadian Football League's regular season. He joked about the long classes at Wisconsin's School of Education. And as P.J. Hill gets set to start his much-anticipated second season at Wisconsin tomorrow, Davis advised him to stay humble, despite the magazine covers and Heisman Trophy hype.
Below is our full conversation:
As a freshman, you were the Big Ten's leading rusher and set the NCAA freshman record for 100-yard games with 10. Was it difficult to face sky-high expectations as a sophomore?
It wasn't difficult to face expectations, but there were a lot of people who kept talking about the "sophomore jinx" and all that stuff.
What advice do you have for sophomore P.J. Hill, who seeks to continue his successful freshman year?
As long as you keep the same blue collar/work hard mentality it wont be a problem. That's the advice I would give to P.J., just to stay humble, hungry and hard working.
Which was harder: returning to campus as a sophomore and running for more yards than Ron Dayne did in his second year, or holding a 4.0 grade-point average?
I would have to say holding a 4.0 GPA. Being a student-athlete can take a toll on your body, which can take an effect on the mind. The classes in the School of Education were extra long so that made it even more challenging. LOL
Critics love writing off the NFL pre-season as meaningless. You played in pre-season games for the Indianapolis Colts. As a player trying desperately to make the team, did you feel like you were working harder than the veteran players?
I didn't feel like I was necessarily working harder than the vets, but I for sure had more of a sense of urgency because they had secure jobs, and I was fighting for one.
In 2006, you played with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. How does the level of play in the CFL compare to NFL pre-season football?
The CFL is not as competitive as the NFL, but it's a different game with different rules, salary cap and so on.