It was about midway through last season, Mepham football coach Anthony Cracco said, when interest from Division I and II college programs began to skyrocket regarding Pirates junior quarterback Tyler Davis.
“Things exploded in October and as soon as the recruiting period officially opened, it was non-stop,” Cracco said. “I always felt Tyler had Division I potential. He’s got a rare combination of athleticism and size, and he’s got a tremendous attitude about everything.”
Davis, an All-County and second-team All-Long Island selection who had more than 1,000 yards passing and rushing in 2013, along with 27 total touchdowns, announced his collegiate decision on June 5 before a jam-packed auditorium at Mepham. He’s headed to the University of Connecticut, one of nine schools to offer him a football scholarship.
“It was quite a process,” said the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Davis, who passed for 1,023 yards and rushed for 1,107 while helping lead the Pirates to their fifth straight Conference II playoff appearance. “It was great to see some of the best colleges in the country,” he added.
In his second year as Mepham’s starting signal-caller, the two-way threat enjoyed a big finish that culminated in a tough 33-30 loss to Garden City in the opening round of the playoffs. He rushed for 194 yards and four touchdowns in a game the Pirates led most of the way. In the second half of the regular season, Davis put together huge back-to-back rushing performances against Westbury and Bellmore-JFK with a combined 473 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“Tyler has the ability to take over a game in a lot of ways,” Cracco said. “He’s one of the best returning players on Long Island this fall. He’s a unique player who can beat you with his arm or legs. I’m glad he’s on our side and we don’t have to defend him.”
The month of May was a whirlwind for Davis, who held formal workouts for college coaches on a daily basis. “I don’t think there was a day we didn’t have multiple college coaches or offensive coordinators here,” Cracco said. “Tyler handled everything really well.”
With the exception of his parents, Steve and Cindy, other family members, Cracco, and coaches of the colleges he didn’t choose, Davis kept his selection quiet until last week when he revealed it by popping on a UConn hat.
“UConn had the best combination of settings, academics and football,” said Davis, who will graduate Mepham in December and begin classes at UConn in January.