Daniel Davie uses his sprinter speed after intercepting an Illinois pass.
By Randy York
One thing about Nebraska. You can hide in the shadows of special teams for a while, but whenever you intercept two passes in a nationally televised game, your days of anonymity are over. Nebraska junior cornerback Daniel Davie, who will return to his home state Saturday wearing a Nebraska uniform, handled his giant leap into the limelight like a seasoned veteran. Perhaps that’s because he rooms with Randy Gregory, Nebraska’s marquee defensive player, who has enjoyed watching Davie get a little taste of what Gregory experiences on a daily basis since his arrival on Nebraska’s campus. Let’s cut to the quick on the identity of a starter the media held high on its priority chart on Monday.
First, Davie lived in Michigan until he was 15. Then he moved to Beatrice, where he ran faster than anyone else in Nebraska. The Huskers liked seeing a prospect 40 minutes down the highway with double gold-medal speed of 10.73 in the 100-meter dash and 21.95 in the 200. The two schools Nebraska beat out for Davie’s signature? Kansas and Ohio. I would bet a dozen roses from Pasadena that Daniel Davie is the first-ever recruit from Nebraska who grew up a fan of a football program that wears maize and blue and a basketball program that favors green and white. Yes, Daniel Davie loved a basketball program in East Lansing almost as much as he relished the Big House in Ann Arbor. Strange, but true … the equivalent of a split personality who might like Oklahoma and Texas simultaneously, or Alabama-Auburn, Michigan-Ohio State, or Army-Navy.
Cornerback Daniel Davie battles wide receiver Kenny Bell every day.
Davie: Kenny Bell Best Receiver in the Big Ten
All that matters is that Davie found a home in Lincoln, where he battles one of the nation’s best receivers every day and kicks back at night with a defensive lineman headed to the NFL, barring injury. So Daniel, what’s it like going one-on-one against Kenny Bell every day? “A lot of people don’t know, but he’s very physical,” Davie said. “When you get your hands on him, he’s swiping down on you. He’s the best receiver in the Big Ten. He’s made me better.” How? “He has a lot of tricks up his sleeve,” Davie said. “It’s very hard to cover him.”
Sometimes, Randy Gregory looks like a steer wrestler making tackles.
Randy Gregory Can Do Anything He Wants
Enough about No. 80, who made the bell toll after catching a 63-yard pass five minutes into the second half to give Nebraska a three-touchdown cushion. What about No. 4A, a.k.a. Randy Gregory? “Randy can do a lot of things, man,” Davie said. “I give him a lot of grief, and we have a lot of fun. He can do whatever he wants to do, you know? He’s probably our best player on defense. He’s just a great player.” Here’s the question: Does Gregory, a low-key guy who would never Google his own name, help a roommate solve a big problem this week? Counting family and friends, Davie is, after all, looking for 25 to 30 tickets when the 17th and 19th-ranked Huskers visit No. 10 Michigan State Saturday night for a nationally televised game on ABC.
Spartan Stadium, Cook’s Arm Tough Challenge
Surprisingly, no one asked the question because, frankly, Davie faces bigger problems than game tickets. Consider Connor Cook, MSU’s quarterback and a future pro who led the Spartans to a 41-28 win over the Huskers last year in Memorial Stadium. “He has a great arm. He fits balls in very tight windows,” Davie said. “He gives his receivers a chance to make plays, even if they’re not wide open. You have to be prepared. We have to make plays. It’s about us being sound in our technique.”
Gregory will play a big part in achieving that goal, and Davie knows how big the target is on his roommate’s back. “Teams are going to try and do things to take him out of his game,” Davie said. “He’s responded well to that and made plays for us. It’s amazing for him to get double-teamed and chop-blocked and hit in the head and knee and stuff and still be able to make the plays. That’s just pretty impressive on his part.” Impressive, perhaps, because Gregory isn’t looking for tickets, a fact that would take a load off anyone.
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