Bellaire’s Davis set to begin his AFL career
Football has allowed Nate Davis the opportunity to take his talents to many levels.
Following an outstanding career at Bellaire High School, the 24-year-old starred at Ball State University in Indiana for three seasons before entering the NFL Draft after his junior campaign in Muncie.
He was selected in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He made the team out of training camp his rookie season, but was the third quarterback.
After being released during camp his second season, he signed a future contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He then signed with the Indianapolis Colts last August for training camp and appeared in one preseason contest, before being released.
However, his professional career isn’t over by any means as he will make his Arena Football League debut Friday night as the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Command when they host the Jacksonville Sharks inside the Sprint Center.
“Of course I’m excited,” Davis said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon from the Command headquarters. “I’m really excited to continue my career.”
The big difference to the AFL game besides the field being half of that in the NFL, according to Davis, is being able to adjust the velocity on his passes.
“It’s all about the touch,” he said of the biggest adjustment. “There are some throws you have to take some of (the velocity) off of and then there are some that I can use my arm. It also helps you in the outdoor game.
“You just have to see the game unfold in front of you and go from there.”
In addition to his rocket right arm, the 6-2, 235-pounder will also have run at times.
“That’s right up my alley,” he acknowledged. “I could always run. I’m not going to break any 40-yard runs, but the field is only 50 yards.”
Command head coach Danto Barto expects great things from Davis.
“We are extremely excited to have Nate,” Barto said. “This kid has loads of talent and sheer athletic ability. He can make every throw you need him to, and he can burn you on the ground, too.
“I hope our fans are excited because I am,” Barto added.
Barto and his staff have assembled a very strong corps of wide receivers for Davis to throw to, including the likes of Christian Wise (Clark College), Jackie Chambers (Lane College), Syvelle Newton (South Carolina), Bret Smith (Tennessee), OJ Simpson (Missouri Western) and Anthony Parks (Oklahoma State).
As for the offensive line, Davis has a pair of his former Ball State teammates to keep him protected in Robert Brewster (6-5, 310) and Andre Ramsey (6-4, 320).
Davis’s backup will be Steven Gachette (Southwest Baptist) who saw action in one game last season.
Davis chose playing for the Command despite getting offers from other professional leagues.
“I had the chance to play in the CFL,” he noted. “But I felt it was a better opportunity for me to play in the AFL. I think it’s a good move for me.”
A starter for all three of his seasons at Ball State, he was named the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year following his junior season in 2008. He was also one of the 10 finalists for the Manning Award that year after he passed for 3,446 yards and 26 touchdowns in leading the Cardinals to 12 straight victories before they lost in the MAC Championship game to Buffalo. He only tossed seven INTs.
He finished his collegiate career with a 22-12 record as a starter. He owns BSU career records for passing yards and completions.
Last season’s starting quarterback for Kansas City was JJ Raterink, who passed for 65 TDs and nearly 3,800 yards. He has signed with the Iowa Barnstormers. His backup, Stephen Wasil, was traded in the off-season to Tampa Bay.
In looking at the Command’s schedule, after Friday’s game at home against Jacksonville, they travel to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Friday, March 23 to meet the Gladiators. Later in the season, Kansas City treks into Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center to meet the Power.
“It’s always good to get back close to home,” he said of the two nearby games. “But the one in Pittsburgh is when everyone is coming up.”
Interestingly, Davis will not be the first in his family to play indoor football in Kansas City. His older brother, Jose, played for the Kansas City Brigade.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org