SUWANEE, Ga. (BVM) – Ethan Davis’ first season of varsity high school football was one for the memory books. After playing freshman football in his first year at Collins Hill High School and sitting out his sophomore season, Davis debuted as a junior and helped the Eagles make history.
Playing alongside Jackson State commit Travis Hunter, the No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2022, and catching passes from Mizzou pledge Sam Horn, Davis and Collins Hill went a perfect 15-0 en route to the school’s first state championship.
“That took a lot, a lot of ups and downs throughout the season and a lot of adversity,” Davis said of the state championship season. “Somebody was always hurt; we didn’t have one game where our entire team was healthy. The way that we came out and dominated like that, it was unreal. Just the feeling and experience of being around those guys like Travis, Sam, Cam (Pedro) and all our other guys, they were great role models and big brothers to me.
“Going against Travis every day, he’s the No. 1 player in the country, so it doesn’t get better than that. If I can catch passes on Trav, then I can catch passes on anybody in the nation.”
While most defenses focused their attention on Hunter (who still managed 1,284 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 85 catches), Davis made opponents pay for forgetting about the freakishly athletic tight end.
He caught 61 passes for 755 yards and eight touchdowns during the Eagles’ undefeated season. After an understandably slow start to the season and his varsity career (one touchdown through the first six weeks), Davis scored five of his eight touchdowns during the postseason.
— ethan davis (@davis1ethan) November 29, 2021
Davis credits at least some of his early success to the Eagles’ team camaraderie, especially with Hunter and Horn. All of the team’s wide receivers and Horn would go out to eat once a week to help build rapport.
“The on-field chemistry was crazy,” Davis said.
But Davis and Hunter had their own method of bonding.
“Me and Trav would fish; that was our little hobby,” Davis said. “We were all a real brotherhood. If we were going somewhere, we were all going somewhere together and you’d always see us together.”
Hunter is headed to play for Deion Sanders at Jackson State while Horn is committed to play both football and baseball for Mizzou, but Davis has a bright future at the next level as well.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound four-star tight end is the No. 4-ranked player in the state of Georgia with a myriad of Power 5 offers from Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon and more. Davis believes it’s his rare combination of versatility and size that makes him such a hot commodity in the recruiting realm.
“I can be in the box, I can be split out because I have speed but I also have that big body to block linebackers,” Davis said. “I just feel like wherever I’m needed on the field, my coaches and team can trust me to play there whether it be at running back, tight end, receiver, fullback, all of that.”
Davis’ versatility will be put to the test in the SEC after he committed to Tennessee back in December. The rising senior points to his relationship with Vols head coach Josh Huepel and tight ends coach Alex Golesh as a main reason why he’s headed to Knoxville.
“Honestly, I trust Coach Huepel and Coach Golesh the most out of all the other coaches I’ve ever talked to and I just believe in their philosophy and program; it’s headed in the right direction,” Davis said. “I just feel like they can develop me and get me to the next level.”
One aspect that will certainly help Davis’ pro aspirations is elite quarterback play, and the Vols should have that by the time he officially steps on campus.
Nico Iamaleava is a five-star prospect, the No. 3-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2023 — behind only Arch Manning (Texas) and Malachi Nelson (USC) – and committed to Tennessee. The future QB-TE duo has already spent time together on visits and Davis believes the off-field chemistry they’re already building will manifest itself out on the field in just a few short years.
“That’s my brother,” Davis said of Iamaleava. “A lot of people don’t know and might think he’s big-headed or cocky, but he’s just a chill dude and doesn’t act like how he could act. He’s a nice guy, speaks to everybody and doesn’t ‘Hollywood’ anybody.
“We already have that off-field connection so the on-field connection is going to be on point. He’s going to know where I want the ball, when I need the ball and stuff like that. I feel like it’ll be even better on the field.”
As crazy as it may sound, the gridiron might not be the only place where Vol fans will be cheering Davis on.
— ethan davis (@davis1ethan) January 16, 2022
He’s also an uber-talented basketball player who was an all-region first team selection on the hardwood as a sophomore before scoring a school-record 43 points during a game as a junior. Davis held hoops offers from Ole Miss, Georgia, Georgia Tech and others, but his basketball days might not be over.
The rising senior hinted at the fact that he’s going to play basketball in addition to football at Tennessee on Twitter.
— ethan davis (@davis1ethan) February 18, 2022
Davis said the plan is for him to play both sports in Knoxville, but that decision will ultimately come down to whether he enrolls at Tennessee early in January or not. If he does, he’ll miss out on his senior basketball season at Collins Hill which would create too much time away from the game by the time the Vols’ 2023 season tips off.
Nonetheless, great NFL tight ends such as Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham had basketball backgrounds and Davis knows the two sports intertwine more than people think.
“A lot of the stuff translates,” Davis said. “Defensive slides are like shuffling to go block somebody. Going to get a rebound is like going to catch a pass so it all kind of comes back to one another eventually.”
Davis currently has a NIL valuation of $147,000, according to On3, which signifies an athlete’s value at a certain moment in time. The nation’s No. 4-ranked tight end prospect will certainly look to cash in on his value when he arrives in Knoxville, but there are much bigger fish to fry.
“Definitely getting a natty (national championship); that’s the main goal,” Davis said.”
Before then, Davis has some unfinished business.
With Hunter, Horn and a strong senior class moving on, Collins Hill will be without its leading passer, rusher, receiver and tackler from a season ago this fall. Davis hears all the noise surrounding his squad and is ready to defend the Eagles’ state title before making a name for himself in Knoxville.
“I just feel like everybody is like ‘Trav is gone, Sam is gone so we don’t have a good team anymore,” Davis said. “We’re still competing for a state championship this season, I can promise you that, and if we go down, it’s going to be in a dogfight. We have the kind of team that can compete for a championship.”