By Clayton Ward
If a double major puts a lot on the average college student’s plate-and a student athlete’s plate is already full with classes and practices-Eastern freshman Shannon Davis may well be lining up for a buffet.Davis, 19, transferred to Eastern from Tulane University on a football scholarship, but isn’t wasting time waiting on football season.
Davis is currently a participant in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash for the outdoor track team while training in spring practice with the football team-and holding down 17 credit hours as a double major in sports management and sociology.
Davis said it’s all about time management skills and knowing what roles to play. From the boyfriend role to the child role, everyone deserves time, Davis said.
“I can’t procrastinate on anything; its very hectic and, at times, frustrating,” Davis said. “You need to know what you’re trying to do and when you’re trying to do things.”
The Atlanta native has made a splash in the track and field community, capturing an array of medals in the indoor season-most notably taking gold at the Ohio Valley Conference Championships in the 55 and the 200. The wins helped propel the Colonels indoor track and field team to first place in the OVC.
Davis isn’t the only athlete pulling double duty in the Colonel sporting world.
Andre Evans transferred to Eastern the same time as Davis and is also taking on track and football.
“We get along really well and we’re together all the time,” Davis said. “Pretty much anytime you see one of us, the other’s not far behind.”
Davis and Evans do not limit their competition to track and field; their battles spill onto the gridiron as well, where Davis is primarily a receiver and Evans was recruited as a cornerback.
“I try go to go against him as much as I can; the rivalry doesn’t start on the track and end on the track,” Evans said. “It’s a healthy rivalry, when they say someone’s faster than you, you want to see what they’re all about.”
Evans competes so well with Davis because he may be the only one on campus that really understands how busy Davis is from day to day.
Davis said his schedule is so detailed with workouts and study that every hour of the day is set with something to do before he ever wakes up in the morning. This still doesn’t seem to be enough for the freshman.
“If I had to pick between track or football, I wouldn’t pick either; I would play baseball,” Davis said. “Baseball is my first love.”
Davis said he plans to try out and play baseball next year, attempting to fulfill his long-time dream of participating in three sports on a collegiate level.
“It’s what I enjoy doing; sports is my life,” Davis said. “Take it to the max.”
Taking it to the max includes collecting the free minutes of his day-which average out to a little more than an hour-and using them productively.
“I do push-ups or crunches to make sure I say in shape and ahead of the game,” Davis said. “I eat when I can and make sure I get a lot of water to . stay hydrated and healthy.”
Assistant track coach Leon Pullen, who specializes with Davis and sets up his track practices around football, calls the football staff the morning of practice to find out what Davis did the day before, and then prepares his workout for track accordingly.
“He’s a very focused and determined individual, very willing to learn,” Pullen said. “He knows what he wants and earns it; I can’t see anyone or anything getting in his way.”
Even with the high regard Pullen holds for Davis, he doesn’t believe there is any way to pull off three sports at the collegiate level, explaining it’s not a talent issue-there simply aren’t enough hours in a day.
Pullen said he believes Davis is talented enough, but Evans said he wonders why Davis would want to even try.
“As much hard work as we’re doing just running track and playing football . that’s just plain crazy,” Evans said.
Whether Davis understands the level of involvement needed to play three sports or not is irrelevant.
“I like proving people wrong,” Davis said. “It’s letting people know all things are possible.”
And he is well on his way to proving his importance to the athletic community at Eastern. Davis has started the outdoor track season and already qualified for the NCAA regional meet. He was named OVC Track Athlete of the Week after he ran a 10.52 in the 100 amongst a 70-man field last week.
“I’m gonna play sports until I can never play sports again, until somebody tells me, ‘look, enough is enough, you’re done,'” said Davis. “As long as I can breathe and walk and have uses of all my limbs, I will continue to play.