Toledoan makes mark as walk-on at Pitt, studies abroad in ArgentinaWritten by Jason Mack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
After playing four years of football at the University of Pittsburgh as a walk-on, Toledo native Jeremiah Davis is fulfilling another dream by studying abroad in Argentina.
“It definitely will be warmer,” he said. “I chose a program in Ghana, but it was canceled for the spring. Argentina was the next best fit for me as far as my class curriculum goes. I’ll be going for business classes, and I’ll be taking a Spanish class for the first time.”
His father, Matt Davis, always put more of an emphasis on education than sports despite being Jeremiah’s head coach at Scott High School.
“We never talked about football at home,” Matt said. “When he came home, he wasn’t a football player. He’s still going to be a young man, plus he had a lot of homework to do.”
Jeremiah kept up with his homework to maintain a 3.7 GPA at Toledo Technology Academy.
“He has had a great drive since he was a little kid,” Matt said. “I had no doubt that he’d be able to play. I wasn’t worried about him playing college football. I just wanted him to go to school and have fun.”
The focus on education paid off with Jeremiah’s educational career going international. He left Feb. 1 for Argentina.
“He is doing well and having a great experience,” Matt said. “I think it is the chance of a lifetime. I don’t know many people who are willing to do such a thing, especially traveling alone. I hope he can inspire other young people in our area to dream big and make those dreams come true.”
Jeremiah’s dreams started while playing football, basketball and track at Scott throughout high school. His own school did not offer sports, but while playing for Scott he was the starting quarterback and safety his senior year and earned All-City League honors at both positions.
“Playing for my dad was great,” Jeremiah said. “A lot of times, especially at the quarterback position, you have to trust the coach and the calls they make. Being that it was my father, I had no problems trusting the decisions he was making, and he had no problems giving me reins to make my own decisions on the field. That was a really positive experience.”
Due to paperwork being pushed back, Jeremiah got a late start at Pittsburgh, walking on as a cornerback after the third game in 2008. Jeremiah made the transition to cornerback from quarterback and safety because of his size.
Jeremiah said he hasn’t gained more than 10 pounds while at Pittsburgh, but Jeremiah’s strength, muscle and game speed have increased greatly. His effort on the field and in the gym paid off this season with a starting role on special teams and a reserve role at cornerback.
“Especially with as hard as I worked in my first three years here, it was great to get on the special teams, play and travel week in and week out,” he said. “I’m proud to still be here. I’ve seen walk-ons come in and out since I’ve been here, and walk-ons that never see the field. That’s not a knock to them. It’s just the position they were in. The fact that I’m still here despite everything that’s transpired through my four years, I’m proud of that.”
Jeremiah missed the final three games of the season after breaking his ankle during a one-on-one drill in practice. He had to get a plate and seven small screws in his ankle. Jeremiah suffered the injury when he jumped for the ball on a deep route against a receiver nearly half a foot taller than him.
With one season of eligibility remaining, Jeremiah is undecided about his future with the team.
“I love football, but I’ve been playing football since the fourth grade,” he said. “There are a lot of things I haven’t had time to do because of football. I’m not taking away from football at all, because it’s taught me a lot and it’s still teaching me to this day. There are other things I’d like to do with my life, so it’s weighing that and whether coming back for a fifth year would be worth it in my eyes.”
The other things he’d like to do revolve around his marketing major.
“My main goal is to own a business,” Jeremiah said. “Whatever I do, I’ll be working toward that goal. I have a couple of ideas for business ownership, so that is my main goal. I have to look into the market to see what businesses would work best. After graduation, I’ll probably end up working for a marketing company to build finances. After a while, I’d like to invest in my own business and get involved with non-profits as well.”