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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

By Sammy Batten

Juco star enters future QB mix

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

Jeff Sims has helped develop three quarterbacks at Fort Scott Community College who earned scholarships to four-year schools between 2007 and 2008. But this year it's been a quarterback from a four-year program who has come to Fort Scott and helped Sims achieve one of his career goals.

Dominique Davis has quarterbacked the Greyhounds to the Jayhawk Community College Conference title and the No. 2 spot in the National Junior College Athletic Association rankings this season. On Sunday, Davis led Fort Scott to the NJCAA Region VI championship over rival Butler, 13-12, and a berth in the national title game.

All those are firsts under Sims, who came to Fort Scott three years ago after stints working for junior college programs in California and Minnesota with a specific purpose in mind.

“I came to the Jayhawk Conference specifically to beat Butler Community College,'' Sims said. “When I came into the league they had won the championship six years in a row. My first year we took second behind them when we had a quarterback (Greg Cross) who went to Pittsburgh. Last year we had two quarterbacks (Zac Dickey/Pittsburg State and Arvel Nelson/Texas Southern) who earned scholarships and were second again.

“Our school hadn't beaten them since 1986 and had a 36-1-1 overall record versus Butler coming into this year. Butler came into this year as the preseason No. 1 team and as the two-time defending national champion.''

In other words, Sims wanted to compete against the best.

While Sims was figuring out a way to beat Butler those first two seasons, Davis was beginning his college career at Boston College. The brother of NFL tight end Desmond Clark, Davis had been mildly recruited out of Kathleen High in Lakeland, FL, where he was regarded as a dual-threat quarterback.

But after a redshirt season in 2007 as a true freshman, the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder entered 2008 as the backup to senior Chris Crane. When Crane went down with an injury, Davis stepped in to start the final three regular-season games along with the ACC Championship game and the Eagles appearance in the Music City Bowl.

Davis completed 63 of 138 passes for 741 yards and six touchdowns during that stint and set himself up to land the starting job at BC for 2009. But in May the university suspended Davis for academic reasons and in early June he announced his intentions to transfer.

Instead of moving to another Football Bowl Subdivision program where he’d have to sit out a year before becoming eligible, Davis chose instead to spend a year at Fort Scott.

Despite his big-time background, Davis fit in well with his new teammates, according to Sims.

“He never told us where he’s been or where he’s going,’’ Sims said. “It’s always been about what he had to do here. He has a lot of character. In reality, he’s not too big for his britches. He’s a really good guy.’’

The highlight of Davis’ season at Fort Scott to date has no doubt been his performance in helping the Greyhounds finally unseat Butler on Nov. 2. Fort Scott scored a 14-10 victory in the game that gave the school its first league title since 1974.

Sims gave credit to Davis for making a big play that helped secure the triumph.

“We scored on the first drive to take a 7-0 lead, but they come back with a couple of scores and get up 10-7 on us with eight minutes to go in the game,’’ Sims said. “We take the ball at the 4-yard line and he drives us 96 yards in a seven-minute drive to win the ballgame.

“The coolest thing about the drive is on a second-and-7 play he takes a 12-yard sack. You would think he’d be panicking. But instead he jogs to the sideline and tells me the play he wants to call. He wound up completing a pass to the 3-yard line and he scores two plays later.’’

Entering Sunday’s regional title game against Butler, Davis had completed 79 of 156 passes for 1,156 yards and five touchdowns for the Greyhounds.

One of the major-college programs that has been following Davis since he departed Boston College is East Carolina. The Pirates actually attempted to bring Davis to Greenville straight from BC, but weren't able to do that, according to Sims.

But ECU kept pursuing Davis and finally received an verbal commitment from him on November 2.

“They followed him out here from Boston College,’’ Sims said. “He was offered by some other schools. I think the reason he picked East Carolina is his brother did some research and the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (Todd Fitch) there came highly recommended.

“They’re getting the most accurate quarterback I’ve ever been around. In practice, there are times when we’ll complete 80 or 90 percent of our passes. He’s had two games where his completion percentage was 75 percent.’’

Davis now looms as the heir apparent at ECU to replace sixth-year senior Patrick Pinkney. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining with the Pirates, and is expected to compete with underclassmen Josh Jordan and Rio Johnson for the starting job in 2010.

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11/17/2009 03:04:54 AM


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