After scholarship offer falls through, Warren Central’s Davis pivots to manager role with Southern Miss

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

For the past two football seasons, Beau Davis was a starter on Warren Central’s offensive line. He earned MHSAA Class 6A all-state honors and was a Mississippi all-star.

As he heads into the summer preparing for his first year of college football, however, he’s learning a new position. Instead of playing football at Mississippi College like he’d planned, a strange chain of events led him to accept an offer to become a team manager at Southern Miss.

“I like to call myself the Water Distribution Engineer, like Bobby Boucher,” Davis joked, referring to the 1990s Adam Sandler comedy classic “The Waterboy.”

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“But I’m pretty sure I’m going to be an equipment manager and a waterboy and things of that nature.”

This wasn’t the original plan for Davis. He signed with Mississippi College in February and had his course set — until a last-minute snafu blew it all up.

Davis, who has a 4.0 GPA and scored a 25 on the ACT, was going to attend Mississippi College on an academic scholarship that required him to live on campus. A miscommunication between himself and the athletic and housing departments led to a missed application deadline, and without a dorm room for the fall semester.

No dorm room, no scholarship. No scholarship, no football or school.

“It was kind of on all parties. The housing told us something, the coaches told us you need to get your housing done, and we never really worried because we thought we had housing,” Davis said. “It’s on all parties. It’s not just their fault. I should have looked more into it instead of on April 1 and now I’m on a wait list.”

Literally overnight, plans that had long been settled evaporated and Davis was sent scrambling to figure out a new one. Mississippi College put Davis on a waiting list for housing, but there were no guarantees a spot would open up.

“It was definitely a shock. April is when most people make their choices. For that to happen around that time we didn’t have that big of a Plan B and time was running out. You didn’t really know where I was going to go. It was just crazy,” he said. “The thought of not playing football is one thing, but another thought of not knowing where you’re going to get an education in college is a whole different concern. I was never going to college just for football.”

Davis’ story, though, is not a tale of woe or lamenting how a golden opportunity was cruelly snatched away. Rather, it is a story of triumph and how doing things the right way might have opened new and unexpected doors.

Immediately after he decided he would not attend Mississippi College, Davis used a tool that served him well during last winter’s recruiting period — social media.

He had built a website and a personal marketing campaign that drew attention from dozens of coaches. When he returned to announce he was reopening his recruitment, so did they.

Within 24 hours, nearly a dozen schools who had tried to sign him in February offered him an opportunity.

“A lot of coaches that were hitting me pretty hard during recruiting called me up. One coach said, ‘If you don’t want to play any more, you can work with our offensive line coach,’” Davis said. “I got a lot of NAIA and D-IIIs. I don’t want to brag on myself, but it’s crazy how many coaches called me at the snap of a finger after hearing I de-committed.”

The opportunity he settled on was one he never even remotely thought of as recently as March. Southern Miss offered him a chance not to play, but rather to work on its support staff as a team manager.

Davis viewed football as a means to an end anyway. He loves the game, but is already looking toward life after it’s over. He plans to major in sports medicine and Southern Miss has a good program for that.

Staying involved with football while pursuing a future career made more sense than going somewhere else just to play, he said.

“I’m going to major in sports medicine. We looked at good sports medicine schools and Southern Miss was one that has a program where you can get your master’s in five years,” Davis said. “I figured I’ve got nothing to lose. Let me go check out this school. I went down there and Southern Miss was everything I wanted in a school. It’s a big college town, a big-time college football program, travel and whatnot. It just had everything I wanted in a school.”

Davis added that his previous recruiting experience helped in round two. A number of the schools who contacted him in April, including Southern Miss, were ones that had shown interest in December and January.

He believes that maintaining relationships and being courteous and professional in his dealings with them were a big reason why so many were still interested.

“I think it was great for me to get that opportunity at Southern Miss. They’ve known me as a football recruit and I think they kept tabs,” he said. “I think it’s really paid off to do all this recruiting stuff and how hard we spread our social media so they would give me a chance. I think my website and social media helped a lot with them getting to know me.”

Davis has already started training for his new football role. Warren Central’s coaches entrust their student managers with a lot of responsibility in the equipment room and the program boasts several alumni who have gone on to careers in that field with college and NFL teams.

Once Davis accepted the offer from Southern Miss, he returned for another spring practice — not to lift weights or run, but to learn from his classmates the fundamentals of his new job.

“I’ve seen some of my buddies do it and I think it’s a learn on the job type of thing,” Davis said. “The day after I announced it I went to Warren Central and a couple of the managers began teaching me how to become one. I’m already learning some stuff. I think I’ll be all right. I’m going to have fun doing it.”

Davis added that he’s already realized one important aspect of the job.

“One thing I didn’t realize, is being a manager you get all the stuff the football team gets except you do not get hurt or hit,” he said with a laugh.

Davis has also learned how to quickly adjust and adapt when even the wildest of life’s curveballs are thrown his way.
His recruiting website and social media campaign were responses to not getting a lot of college offers. Now, he’s charted his own unique path again.

Plan B was not one that Davis ever thought he’d execute, but it is one he’s happy with.

“It’s definitely wild. If you would’ve told me (in March) that you’re going to Southern Miss I would’ve told you I’m not. It’s not normal. Most seniors don’t go through something like this. They see a college they like and they choose it,” Davis said.
“That’s God’s timing,” he added. “He closes a door and opens another one. As long as yout trust in Him everything will be all right, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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