2000: The big, imposing Davis will start for his third season at defensive tackle as a senior in 2000 and he could be in line for post-season honors. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose cartilage in his left elbow and left knee after 2000 spring practice.
PAUL HACKETT SAYS: “Ennis has shown very positive signs of being completely back to his old, dominating self. It’s almost unbelievable to see the difference in him from the past two years.”
1999: Davis started for his second season at defensive tackle as a junior in 1999. Overall while starting all 12 games in 1999, he had 31 tackles, including 7 for losses of 22 yards (with a co-team high 5 sacks for minus 18 yards), 2 fumble recoveries (versus Oregon State that led to a USC TD and Notre Dame), 1 forced fumble (against Oregon State that led to a USC TD), 2 interceptions (against Stanford and a 30-yarder for a TD against Arizona State), 4 deflections and 1 blocked PAT (against Louisiana Tech). He did all this despite not being at full health all season after a 1998 knee injury. He had 6 tackles each at Oregon, Arizona and Arizona State (with the scoring interception), 5 (4 were losses, including 3 sacks) at Notre Dame (with a fumble recovery) and 3 versus California and Oregon State (he also recovered a fumble, forced another and broke up a pass). He earned 1999 All-Pac-10 second team honors in 1999. He was a 1999 pre-season All-American first teamer. He missed 1999 spring drills while recuperating from a knee injury.
1998: Davis started 11 games (all but Arizona State and Notre Dame) at defensive tackle as a much-improved sophomore in 1998. Overall while appearing in all 13 games in 1998, he made 47 tackles, including a team-best 13 for losses of 31 yards (with 3 sacks for minus 15 yards), and also deflected 4 passes, recovered a fumble and forced a fumble. He had a huge game against Arizona State (6 tackles, 1 blocked field goal, and a forced fumble which he recovered) and he added 6 stops at Washington State, 5 (with 2 for losses) at both Oregon and Stanford, and 4 versus Notre Dame. He added 5 stops against TCU in the Sun Bowl before tearing ligaments in his left knee and having post-season surgery. He made the 1998 All-Pac-10 first team and was USC’s Defensive Player of the Year.
1997: As just a redshirt freshman, Davis saw lots of action as the backup to Cedric Jefferson at a defensive tackle spot in 1997. Overall while appearing in all 11 games in 1997, he made 15 tackles, including 6 for losses of 9 yards (with a 4-yard sack), plus 1 deflection. He had 4 tackles at Washington and 2 against California, Notre Dame, Stanford and Oregon State.
1996: Davis redshirted as a freshman defensive tackle in 1996, his first year at USC. He suffered a sprained right ankle in practice prior to the Houston game and was out for 3 contests (Houston, California and Arizona). After the 1996 season, he had surgery to remove bone chips in his right shoulder.
HIGH SCHOOL: He was a 1995 Super Prep All-American, Bluechip All-American, Schutt Sports All-American, USA Today All-USA second team, Student Sports Hot 100, Bluechip Best of the West, Super Prep All-Farwest, Bluechip All-Western, Student Sports All-West Coast, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best of the Rest, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Cal-Hi Sports All-State, All-L.A. City 3-A MVP, Los Angeles Times All-Valley, Los Angeles Daily News All-Valley first team and All-Pac-8 League Defensive MVP as a senior two-way lineman at Reseda (Calif.) High. He posted 115 tackles, 9 sacks, 4 deflections and 3 fumble recoveries in 1995 (he had 10 unassisted tackles in 5 different games). Reseda won the L.A. City 3-A title in 1995. As a 1994 junior, he made All-L.A. City 3-A, Los Angeles Times All-Valley second team, Los Angeles Daily News All-Valley second team and All-Pac-8 League while getting 105 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception and 1 blocked punt. He added 75 tackles, 4 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries as a 1993 sophomore while winning All-Pac-8 League honors. He also played basketball and was on the track team (shot put) at Reseda.
PERSONAL: He’s a public policy and management major at USC. His sports hero is Bruce Smith.
ENNIS DAVIS ON:
Coming back in 1999 from his knee injury: “Yeah, it’s frustrating. But I had another year so I wasn’t worried. I didn’t stress out as I might have. Things went cool for me in 1999, but I wasn’t able to be me. I was close…Yeah, I thought about ‘What if?’ If I hadn’t hurt my knee, I’d be through school. But it doesn’t affect me much because I can still make it happen. Now I want to be the best defensive tackle in the nation in 2000. It definitely has made me hungrier. Now I have a chance to set the tone for the rest of my life…I was feeling good right before 1999 fall camp started, and I thought I’d be fine. I was extremely happy and running around and then after that first practice my knee swelled up huge. They had to drain it out and I missed two days. I was mad at the coaches because they were taking me out of practice. When I realized I wasn’t 100 percent, that was really when I knew I had some healing to do.”
The best part of his game: “My strong point is holding up well to double teams.”
Being out of shape when he first came to USC: “I barely made it through the first practice. When I first came here, everyone knew I was out of shape. In high school, I never worked out. I was just bigger than everyone...My high school coach has a picture of me that USC sent them and he was surprised by how in-shape I looked.”
His habit of always wearing a watch, even to high school practices: “I wore my watch to every practice at Reseda, and here at USC I wear it in the weight room. It wasn’t like I was looking at it the whole time in practice. Growing up, I never had a watch. My friends had watches. I never had keys, I never had jewelry because I’d always lose things. I never took my watch off because I was scared I’d lose it.”
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron: “It’s amazing for him to come back and do what he’s did after his injury. He wasn’t really at full strength in 1999. He had a good year, but not as good as he could have had. But he gave us everything he had…He’s very similar to (ex-Miami All-American defensive lineman and NFL first rounder) Cortez Kennedy. He’s lost a lot of weight, he’s listened to his coaches and he’s added a lot of quickness. He’s coming around to play the way I thought he would.”
USC strength coach Matt Schiotz: “Everyone told me he was 300-and-some pounds and a little soft. But if I had to name the top 10 workers in the weight room, Ennis would be up there. He’s done everything we’ve asked. Ennis Davis is not lazy.”
Reseda High coach Joel Schaeffer: “He is a gut-level, emotional-type football player. He has good lateral movement, good pursuit, and good speed for a big kid. He can chase down people and make a lot of tackles on the wide side of the field...Sometimes you see guys who develop too fast in high school and they don’t have any room to grow. Ennis was really just starting to develop in his senior year.”
ENNIS DAVIS CAREER STATISTICS