Won of a Kind

Nov. 1, 2001

by Mason Kelley

Football has always been a part of the life of senior safety Wondame Davis.

Growing up in Colorado, Davis watched his father Wade coach football. He watched from the sidelines until he reached the tender age of five when his father signed him up for Pop Warner.

'I have always liked football. My dad signed me up when I was five and I have been playing ever since,' the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Davis says.

Once Davis hit high school, his father became his offensive coordinator. It was hard at times, but he enjoyed the experience and took to heart the lessons that his father imparted on him.

'When I was in high school we both took a lot,' Davis recalls. 'He had to be hard on me because I was the coach's son, and if I got away with anything it would be a big deal. It was really hard, and we had a lot of arguments at the dinner table. But I had a good time and he is a great coach.'

While his dad has taught him the ins and outs of the game on the field, his mother Jody was always there on the sidelines to cheer him on.

'I can't remember a game that my mother missed,' he says. 'She worked really hard, and after work she would always come and watch my games.'

The support of his parents has been instrumental in Davis' development as a person, as well as a football player. While both could at times be critical, they were also always the first ones to pick him up and point out the things he was doing well.

Davis has put to use the inner strength instilled in him by his parents since coming to the University of Washington in the fall of 1997. In the four years since, he has played on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, switching sides on an almost annual basis. Davis, though, is a team player, and is willing to fill in wherever he is needed.

In 1998, Davis was needed at cornerback following an injury to starter Jermaine Smith. As has become his custom, he slid right into the role, making 28 tackles in eight games. In 2000, a depleted wide receivers corps beckoned for Davis' assistance, so he took his talents to the offensive side of the ball, and caught a key touchdown strike in the Huskies' 21-15 win at Arizona State to continue a Rose-Bowl bound season. This season it is the safety position which finds itself short on healthy bodies, so Davis has stepped in there.

'It has been hard going from offense to defense. It was one of those things where you feel like you can't find a home,' he says. 'I do consider myself a big team player and I like to do things that can help out my team.'

Davis each side of the ball has a different appeal.

'I always loved offense in high school,' he says. 'Scoring touchdowns is a beautiful thing. But I do believe that a lot of people that come to watch Husky football come to watch the defense.'

In the end it has been the safety position where Davis has made his home and blossomed into a complete player. Davis started each of the Huskies' first five games in 2001 at free safety, tallying 23 tackles - fourth most on the team - and a fumble recovery. It is at this position that he hopes to be the next Husky safety to make it to the NFL, taking a torch passed from Dana Hall to Lawyer Milloy to Hakim Akbar.

'I would like to keep playing. I am definitely going to give it a shot,' he says. 'I am going to try to be the best that I can be for the rest of the season doing what I can for the team. If that doesn't work out, I will be totally fine with that.'

Davis has a fall-back plan already worked out. Like his father before him, he wants to work with kids, and he his going to use that in conjunction with his English degree to give back to the community.

'I am looking at teaching so that I can give something back,' he says. 'I would like to be an inner-city teacher. I think that would be good for me. If that were to happen I would be perfectly happy.'

Davis has come a long way since his days of Pop Warner football. He appreciates the time that others spent helping him arrive at where he is today, a scholarship player for one of the nation's great collegiate institutions. He knows that he has been fortunate to be surrounded by good people.

He's been given a lot, and he's ready to start giving back.

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