Anthony Davis Biography
Anthony Davis was born on September 8, 1952 in Huntsville, Texas. He later moved to Southern California where he became a multi-sport star in high school. Davis was the Co-Los Angeles player of the year in Football, won the city wrestling title, and was named the City Player of the year in Baseball.
Known to his friends as “AD” he was a flashy, popular player as demonstrated by his signature knee dance after touchdowns. Although Davis made a slow start his sophomore year in 1972, as he did not become a featured ball carrier until the last 6 games of the season. He amazingly managed 1,191 yards and 17 touchdowns at season’s end. With stats such as these, Anthony cemented himself as one of the greatest rushers in PAC-8 and NCAA history.
In 1974, during the time when Heisman Trophy ballots were due prior to the USC vs. ND game, Anthony, a unanimous First Team All-American selection, finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting. Archie Griffin took the Heisman. From that day forward, Heisman voting would be postponed until after the big game. Following record-setting performances, both teams have produced winners. Had the rules been changed prior to 1974, Anthony Davis would not have been robbed of his well-deserved Heisman Trophy Award, and USC would lead Notre Dame for Heisman Award recipients today.
A two-time First Team All-Conference pick, he became the first player in PAC-8 history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in three individual seasons. A two-time recipient of the Voit Trophy as the Most Outstanding Player on the West Coast, Davis led USC in rushing, scoring and kick return yardage for three consecutive seasons. He still ranks third on USC’s career rushing chart (3,724 yards), and he set an NCAA record with 6 scoring kickoff returns in his career, including 3 in 1974.
Well known as the greatest kickoff return man in college football history, Davis averaged 36.6 yards per kickoff. He is long remembered for scoring 11 touchdowns in three games against Notre Dame. He ran for an astonishing 6 touchdowns as a sophomore in 1972, in a 45-23 win against Notre Dame, which led USC to a Rose Bowl win over Ohio State and a National title; and 4 in the famous 55-24 comeback victory in 1974. He opened the floodgates as USC scored 55 unanswered points in 17 minutes, leading
USC to another National Title victory over Ohio State. This would be the school’s second national title in 3 years. To this day, these two games remain two of the greatest individual performances in Trojan Football history. No player, before or since, has dominated a team like Anthony Davis, earning him the name “Notre Dame Killer.”
A proven winner, Davis guided the Trojans to a 31-3-2 record, three conference titles, three Rose Bowl victories and two national championships in three years. Upon the completion of his career, he accumulated 24 school, conference and NCAA records, including over 5,400 all-purpose yards and 52 touchdowns.
As great as AD was in football, he was equally as talented in baseball. He was an outfielder on USC’s 1973 and 1974 College World Series champion baseball teams.
During his Trojan career, Davis won four National Championships – two in each sport. As a two-sport standout, Davis holds the distinction of being the only player in school history to start for a National Champion Football team (1972) and a National Champion Baseball team (1974). Playing with wood bats at the time, Davis hit .273 with 6 home runs, 45 RBI and 13 stolen bases for the Trojan’s 1974 National Championship Baseball team. The Minnesota Twins selected him in the fourth round of the 1975 January amateur entry draft (83rd overall pick).
Anthony Davis was the first college and pro athlete to be featured on the cover of
Sports Illustrated wearing shoes featuring the now famous “swoosh” symbol of the corporate giant, Nike. In the early 70’s the company was barely beyond “mom and pop” however, after Anthony Davis had finished back-to-back trouncing of the UCLA Bruins, where he broke OJ Simpson’s career rushing record and followed up with “The Comeback” against arch-rival Notre Dame, Nike hit the big time – all on the back of one of the greatest Trojans to every carry the ball. Davis credits Coaches, Rod Dedeaux and John McKay as the two greatest influences on his life – they were the men who taught Anthony that anything worth having, was worth the fight.
The Notre Dame vs. USC game on November 27, 2004 was titled Anthony Davis day in recognition of the 30th Anniversary of the record breaking game. And Davis was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on December 6, 2005 in
New York City. With his enshrinement on August of 2006 in South Bend, Indiana, he became the sixth Trojan in six consecutive years to enter college football’s national shrine. Following a brief NFL career, Davis did some acting in television and film and then became a successful real estate developer, and remains associated with Nike today. His achievements have led to the creation of the Anthony Davis Foundation with which he is actively involved. The primary purpose of the foundation is to provide scholarships for higher education to those who have the academic skills but not the financial or athletic ability to pursue a college career. He continues to serve as a motivational speaker for youth in California.
“Not a day has gone by where people
don’t talk to me about the game.”