Illinois State football finally received official word last week on something the Redbirds had expected all along. Quarterback Brady Davis was granted a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.
Davis, who transferred to ISU last year from FBS member Memphis, will now have two years of eligibility remaining with the Redbirds.
The Columbus, Miss., native sat out the 2015 season at Memphis as a true freshman redshirt and then missed the entire 2016 season after suffering a left knee injury in a late preseason scrimmage. Davis then saw action in one game in 2017 at Memphis, before transferring to Illinois State.
“It’s a real comfort for him and us that he has another year if he wants to exercise that year,” ISU coach Brock Spack told Randy Reinhardt of The Pantagraph. “It’s good to put it in writing.”
Davis made an immediate impact for the Redbirds in 2018, as he earned a spot on the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer Team and finished second in the voting for the MVFC Newcomer of the Year award. He was a three-time MVFC Newcomer of the Week selection and started all 10 games played in at quarterback for ISU.
Davis completed 142-of-254 pass attempts for 1,935 yards with 19 touchdowns (eighth on the ISU single-season list) to just five interceptions. He threw for 317 yards and accounted for five touchdowns in a win over Eastern Illinois, including a 97-yard touchdown pass and later tied a career-best with four touchdown passes in a win over Southern Illinois.
SIU spring game Saturday
Nick Hill's Southern Illinois Salukis will be the state's first FCS team to wrap up spring ball. SIU concludes its practices with Saturday's annual spring game.
"Spring ball is all about getting better," Hill said on SIUSalukis.com. "We will never stop trying to get better and stress the fundamentals and details every single day. Like I tell the players, we come out here to practice and tomorrow is just as important when we get in the film room, try to learn from our mistakes and build on the things we are getting better at."
With 1,000-yard running back D.J. Davis firmly in place, Hill has been looking at other rushers. In fact, with Davis not taking reps in live action, the Saluki staff has taken a close look at redshirt freshman Javon Williams, Jr., the Centralia native who transitioned to running back this offseason after playing four games at quarterback last year.
Williams led SIU with 44 rushing yards on 15 carries in the Salukis' first spring scrimmage. He also scored a touchdown.
"Everything’s going great. A lot of competition going on and everybody’s competing to make one another better. Still fine tuning with all the little details," Davis told Prairie State Pigskin.
Former Western Illinois standout wide receiver Jaelon Acklin recently signed a contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
Acklin, a native of Mountain View, Mo., led WIU with 84 receptions for 1,369 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2017. He also rushed 21 times for 255 yards and four TDs that season as the Leathernecks made the FCS playoffs.
Acklin spent time in Baltimore Ravens training camp last summer.
Mack Weaver, former Eastern Illinois defensive lineman, signed with the BC Lions after being cut by Memphis of the Alliance of American Football.
Pace picked as top executive
Former Eastern Illinois football player Ryan Pace was named The Sporting News Executive of the Year.
Pace, the general manager of the Chicago Bears, played defensive end for the Panthers from 1996 to 1999.
"I think really when you think about this award, it’s really a reflection of our whole staff. Our scouts, our coaches, the relationship we have working together. It’s our personnel department and all the hard work by those guys. I feel like this is staff of the year. I feel like we won this together," Pace told Tadd Haislop of TSN.