Michael Davis had already made himself a Nitro to remember this year when he became the first Glendale High track and field athlete to qualify for the CIF State Championships since 1986.
Davis etched his name further into Glendale lore on July 27 when he became the first Nitro to receive and accept a NCAA Division I athletic scholarship since Riley Van Patten, who graduated from Glendale in 2002 and went on to play basketball and football at Northern Arizona, said Glendale High Athletic Director Pat Lancaster.
"We have had a lot of good athletes come through Glendale, but it's been a while since we had a Division I college scholarship offer," Lancaster said.
While Davis just capped a stellar junior season on the track, in which he took seventh in the 200-meter at the State Meet in 21.82 seconds, his full-ride scholarship offer came because of his speed on the football field.
"I feel kind of happy [having committed], all the weight is gone and I don't have to worry about colleges," said Davis, who also received offers from Iowa State and New Mexico State. "Now I just have to focus on high school football and that's it."
Davis said Iowa State and New Mexico State also made him offers, but the Cougars, who want to keep him at wide receiver, stood out from the pack.
"It was just a great school, great coaches and it has a great family environment," Davis said. "I took a visit last season. It was one of my first times [to Utah], it was pretty awesome."
The Cougars, who currently have 12 receivers listed on their roster, enter this season unranked, but finished 2011 ranked 25 by USA Today with a 10-3 record and as winners of the Armed Forces Bowl over Tulsa, 24-21.
New Glendale football Coach John Tuttle said it was easy to see why the Cougars were interested in Davis.
"Michael obviously is 6-2, 180 [pounds] and runs pretty fast," said Tuttle of his receiver. "His athletic ability is obviously second to none."
Tuttle said an early commitment can have a different impact from player to player.
"Some kids when they commit early they back off a little bit, but you have certain kids who are a little different who go out there and want to prove to everybody why they're a Division I player," Tuttle said. "We'll see [where Michael lands]."
Davis said he'll look to improve on his statistics this season after he earned All-Pacific League first-team and All-Area second-team honors in 2011 with 52 receptions for 860 yards and also posted two 90-plus yard kickoff returns.
"I will be working on my routes, trying to get separation from the corners and everybody," Davis said. "I have been lifting, trying to get a little bit stronger to push people off me and truck a few people."
Davis said he also hopes to continue to be a dual-sport athlete at BYU, as he has at Glendale, by going out for track after the football season. The standout sprinter posted All-Area best times in the 100- (10.67) and 200-meter (21.40) events this year.
"We are very excited for Michael," Lancaster said. "He is a great track and field, football guy and the future is bright for him."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun