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Virginia Tech wideout Marcus Davis found out that his mother had suffered a stroke.
Virginia Tech receiver Marcus Davis runs a drill at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
When former Virginia Tech receiver Marcus Davis arrived in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine last week, needing to be focused on the job interview of his life, he got some disheartening news.
Davis’ adoptive mother, Lillian Tann, was in the hospital. The retired school bus driver from Virginia Beach, who had fostered a number of children with her husband, Wilford, had taken Davis in for good when he was only a few days old.
At age 79, she had a stroke, information Davis’ family didn’t tell him until he was done with his workouts and preparing to leave the combine last Sunday.
“My family was trying to keep me focused,” said Davis, who has spent his time at her side since returning to Virginia Beach. “But at the same time, I think I was thinking about what’s the worst? I think having that thought in the back of my head was actually worse than not knowing what was going on.”
Davis soldiered on through the array of medical examinations, interviews and workouts before NFL general managers, coaches and scouts at Lucas Oil Stadium, turning in what he called an OK performance, but not his best.
“It’s kind of hard, just that fact that somebody that important in your life is not physically in the state that she was before everything went down,” Davis said. “It was kind of hard to concentrate, but at the same time, you have to keep yourself focused.”
Projected as a midround NFL Draft pick in April, the 23-year-old Davis’ biggest chance to make an impression last week wasn’t in the workouts. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper labeled the 6-foot-3,233-pound Davis a “workout wonder” before the combine.
But the receiver knew NFL personnel would have questions about his senior year. Davis’ benching late in the year was a frequent topic as he shuttled through 15-minute meetings with all the NFL teams.
His subpar effort against Florida State earned him a half on the bench against Boston College the following week, leading to a persistent line of questioning in Indianapolis.
“They were really just trying to get me to point fingers, be irresponsible for certain situations or not take the blame for certain things,” Davis said. “But overall, I told them everything that went on. … I told them it was all on me. And I told them I take responsibility for it all.”
Davis thinks the way he responded in the final three games of the season, when he had 13 catches, 199 yards and a touchdown, and was consistent in his effort, helped immensely.
“They told me that’s the way to deal with adversity,” Davis said. “But they also told me that at the next level, you really can’t have that [inconsistency]. You have to be that consistent player every single game. So it was just something I told them that I had to work on. I’m not perfect.”
His on-field workouts went fine, although he wished for better marks in the 40-yard dash and vertical jump.
Officially, his 40 time was 4.56 seconds, although his unofficial hand-timed number was 4.40, an adjustment as large as any player there. He’ll run again at Virginia Tech’s pro day on March 20.
His 39.5-inch vertical tied for first among receivers, along with former Tennessee receiver and Virginia Beach product Justin Hunter, who is so close to Davis that he calls him “family.” Still, Davis was disappointed, knowing that he’d hit that figure as a freshman and sophomore in college.
“It wasn’t bad, but for my expectations it wasn’t good either,” he said.
Davis came away from the position drills satisfied. He moved well, despite being the heaviest receiver there at 233 pounds. He played at about 225 last year but has been mostly doing strength exercises this offseason and figures he’ll drop down to 227 or so by pro day.
That’s in three weeks, time he’ll spend training and staying close to family. On Thursday, he planned to head back to Orlando, Fla., where he’s been training with Tom Shaw, along with Hokies teammate Corey Fuller.
It’s a brief trip. He’ll return to Virginia Beach in a week to be with Tann, who is improving. Her speech is somewhat slurred and she is regaining her strength, and she began therapy Thursday.
“That’s going to help strengthen her up a little bit and get her back home so things can get back to having her normal life back,” Davis said, some relief in his voice.
“I’m glad to be home. I’m glad to finally get things situated.”
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