Cody Davis was a dominant force in the kicking game during his three-time all-state career at Stephenville High School. Little did he know it then, but special teams would go on to be his ticket to the active roster with the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams rookie and 2007 Stephenville graduate moved from the practice squad to the active roster after four games this season, and has seen action on special teams in 11 games. He's made five tackles, all solo.
"It's been a crazy ride, starting on the practice squad for four weeks then being thrown into the rotation," said Davis. "I worked my way onto the special teams, then solidified my spot there. I've been producing here in the last couple weeks and feel like it's been a steady progression."
There are a number of things that have made Davis' rookie season special: the travel, learning the NFL game and being surrounded by world class athletes just to name a few.
"It's a combination of all that and so many more things. It's been a pretty amazing experience just to go from strapping on an NFL helmet for the first time to making the active roster," he said. "To go out there on NFL game day is just awesome, and we have a young team with a bunch of rookies who are just flying around and having fun. You can definitely tell we have a lot of energy about us. We're just trying to prove ourselves and make each other better, especially on special teams."
It's no secret the NFL requires quite an adjustment for rookies, regardless which phase of the game they are involved in.
"There is definitely an adjustment when it comes to the speed and caliber of the game. Everybody's fast here, and it seems sometimes like nobody has a weak link," Davis said. "You learn to focus only on what you can control - your position and doing the best you can. In the NFL there are so many different factors than you have in high school and college, so you can't be worried about coach's decisions, playing time, being cut, any of that. You just have to focus on yourself and being productive every chance you get."
Davis is listed as a safety, which is where he played in Stephenville's secondary then during his decorated Big 12 career at Texas Tech. He still hopes to play in the secondary in the future, but for now is happy where he's at with the Rams. St. Louis won't be in the playoffs at season's end, but can finish 8-8 with a win at NFC West leading Seattle Sunday afternoon. Kickoff is 3:25 p.m. CST.
"A win would be huge for us, not just to get to .500, but to go out with a win over Seattle, one of our top rivals in the division," Davis said. "The Rams had high expectations for this year, and we fell short of those early in the season. But we've found our rhythm here near the end, and hopefully we can close it out in a way that helps us build for next season."
Davis still receives plenty of support from his hometown fans and coaches, including Stephenville head coach Joe Gillespie, who was coaching linebackers when Davis played for the Yellow Jackets, and past Stephenville defensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.
"I haven't had time for a lot of interaction with too many people, but everything I hear is positive and everyone is supportive. I've talked with Coach Gillespie and Coach Wilson and they are always encouraging," said Davis. "I'm definitely proud to be from Stephenville and wouldn't want to be from anywhere else."