Photo courtesy Joe Davis
Andy Colwell / THE DENVER POST
As far as Joe Davis was concerned, it didn’t matter who was coaching the Colorado football team.
If the Buffaloes wanted Davis, he wanted the Buffaloes.
So, when CU went through a coaching change — firing Mike MacIntyre in November and hiring Mel Tucker in December — Davis never wavered in his commitment to the Buffs.
“Before I committed, I looked at the aspects of the school,” he said. “I didn’t want to commit to somewhere because of a coach, because there are always coaching changes throughout the system. It’s a business and I understand that. With the new coaches stepping in, it didn’t change my decision because I’m still in love with the University of Colorado.”
CU is now Davis’ home, as he was one of several players in the 2019 recruiting class to enroll this month. A running back from Valor Christian, he’s eager to be a part of his hometown team and play in front of family and friends.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to come out here and play for my hometown team,” Davis said last week before officially beginning classes at CU. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to have my family this close. I come from a good background and my family has always been so supportive, so it’s been pretty nice to have them right here, only about 45 minutes away.”
Davis is already developing good relationships with his coaches. He’s been very impressed with the enthusiasm Tucker has brought to the program, and was thrilled that Tucker chose to retain Darian Hagan as running backs coach.
“That’s a huge deal because coach Hagan is a good coach and a good family friend of ours, so it’s been an honor to develop the relationship that I’ve had the last couple of years,” he said. “It’s cool to have him still be my coach and be able to learn from someone like him.”
Davis had his senior year cut short with a hamstring injury, but during his time at Valor, he rushed for 2,575 yards on 480 carries (5.4 average) and 31 touchdowns. He also caught 97 passes for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns and, at times, returned punts and kicks.
Although he was recruited to CU by MacIntyre, the 5-foot-11, 208-pound Davis fits the mold of the big, tough running backs that Tucker likes to utilize.
On national signing day last month, Tucker praised Davis’ toughness, physicality, character and leadership.
“This guy can do it all,” Tucker said.
That is certainly Davis’ hope, especially since he comes into a wide-open competition at running back. With 1,000-yard rusher Travon McMillian and key backup Kyle Evans both graduating, the Buffs don’t have much experience at the position.
Senior Beau Bisharat is the lone upperclassman and he’s shown some flashes when given opportunities, but has just 57 carries for 249 yards in his career.
Redshirt sophomore Alex Fontenot (11 carries, 43 yards) and walk-on Chase Sanders (four carries, 8 yards) are the only other running backs to have carried the ball for CU. Freshman Jarek Broussard and Deion Smith will compete for playing time after redshirting this past year.
Davis and fellow freshman Jaren Mangham are hoping to get their opportunities, as well.
“I’m going to come in there physically and mentally ready,” Davis said. “I’m going to come and be my best and bring my best and I’m just going to compete. Of course I want to win the job. Who doesn’t? That’s the ultimate goal.”
Fully healthy from his hamstring injury, Davis believes he can help CU on special teams or as an every-down back.
“I can bring to the team some versatility,” he said. “I think I’m an every down back that can stay in the game and hopefully I can be physically and mentally ready to play come August.”
When he does get on the field, Davis said he’ll bring the same power-running mentality he’s always possessed.
“Even when I was little, I still ran with an attitude,” he said. “That’s the same attitude I carry now even though I’ve put on 30-40 pounds since then. That’s always been my attitude coming into the game. I’m going to come in and pack a punch every time someone tries to tackle me.”