Swept up in the ship-jumping most Texas fans make a hobby of these days, it is nice to see the players are not doing the same. Mike Davis returning for his senior season to anchor a young wide receiver corps--and a young offense at that--shows me something lost to many collegiate athletic programs of the modern age: pride. While yes, the pride of the average fan on gameday is likened to Times Square on VJ Day, I feel players have lost that mentality on their way to the NFL.
I have a few thoughts on why this. 1) Recruits cannot circle their wagon around one team anymore. Say I grow up routing for the Sooners (which is harder to say than most Danish words) and only want to go play for OU, unless I am a top recruit I may not receive a scholarship and all my dreams and career plans go down the drain. 2) Schools treat their players like a business so players treat them like companies in return. Texas is not innocent of this. Perhaps we are the MOST guilty because we make the MOST money. Schools make an investment on players, and expect a return on that investment, which I can't bash because it is after all a business.
However, what makes a good business, what makes a successful business is hard working employees and employees who enjoy working for said business. If they treat that employer as a stepping stone to something greater (the NFL, the NBA, or a promotion) no one grows pride or accountability. I think that is what we are seeing out of Kentucky, inc. this year from CEO John Calipari. And I think that is something the Texas Longhorns, and many other programs, have begun to emulate. Mechanizing the college football process to bring the best recruits and coaches to manufacture a championship. While this is successful at places like Alabama and their dynastic rule, that is because Nick Saban himself IS a machine.
Mack Brown is not a machine, if anything he's a Build-a-Bear Teddy Belmont, DD, and the boosters have been working on for years. Mack is all about pride and players playing with pride. That is why to me it is to see Mike Davis returning. Partly because I was front row in the north end zone during the Iowa State game when David Ash was dropping hot potatoes right into Davis' oven mitts, and partly because to me it shows Davis thinks he can be apart of something and the coaches still have enough fire to convince someone to walk away from a million bucks to be apart of that.
Yes, Mike's draft stock will rise, yes, he will earn more money staying in the long run as opposed to leaving, and yes, he'll get more targets and chances to impress pro-scouts. But he'll also get 12 more games on the 40-acres, one more year lighting up the tower and lighting up defenses, and one more shot at OU. Overall, Davis deciding to stay exemplifies the kind of pride and prowess Texas wields. So fans, stop jumping ships. Stay, like Mike.