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CFLer Marcus Davis gives back: ‘I want to be an inspiration’

Coming full circle is always a surreal experience for athletes.
Hamlilton Tiger-Cats receiver Marcus Davis poses for photos with Saanich Wolverines players Heath White, left, and Kegan McAllister after putting the minor football team through its paces.

Coming full circle is always a surreal experience for athletes.

Marcus Davis had his moment this week when he visited his former Saanich Wolverines team at Copley Park, where the Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver and kick returner began his football journey.

“I used to be in their shoes a few years ago. This brings back a lot of memories,” said Davis.

One of the questions, from a young Wolverines player obviously mistaking the CFL for the NFL, was about the kind of car Davis drives. Davis good-naturedly answered all questions because, as he said, he was once in the youth players’ cleats.

“It’s great that they want to be following in my footsteps because I want to be an inspiration to them.”

One piece of advice imparted by Davis was to not specialize in one sport at too young an age — something happening more and more among youth athletes — but to try a number of different sports. Davis not only starred for three B.C. championship football teams at Mount Douglas Secondary, but he also played for the Rams basketball team. Dad Alton Davis was a Mann Cup national champion lacrosse player with the Victoria Shamrocks, and Marcus also played both the box and field versions of lacrosse.

“I learned a lot of things in other sports that helped me as a football player,” said Davis.

“So I recommend to young athletes to first be all-rounders. Victoria is such a great sports town, with so much going on and so many great athletes, and plus the community support that allows all that to happen. I know it helped me.”

Marcus and brother Terrell Davis, who recently signed with the B.C. Lions, are back in their hometown working out at CARSA gym at UVic ahead of CFL training camps.

“We were definitely competitive growing up and that will continue through our pro careers,” said Marcus Davis, with a chuckle.

Terrell was eight and Marcus six when they joined the Saanich Wolverines. It led to great things. Terrell Davis was converted into a linebacker with the Tiger-Cats in 2016 before signing with the home-province Leos, after a standout career as a multi-use offensive player for the Mount Douglas Rams and UBC Thunderbirds. Marcus followed Terrell from the Wolverines to Mount Douglas to UBC, and then to Hamilton. Both were named B.C. Triple-A high school football players of the year during their respective seasons with the Rams.

Marcus Davis won three B.C. championships at Mount Douglas and was selected 31st overall in the fourth round of the 2018 CFL draft by the Ticats. Marcus, however, sat out last season in Hamilton due to injuring his left knee after playing just two Canada West games in 2017 for the UBC Thunderbirds. The season before, a torn ACL placed him on the sidelines after the fifth game of the Canada West season. That was certainly disappointing after leading UBC in all-purpose yards during the Thunderbirds’ Vanier Cup U Sports national championship season in 2015.

“The ACL reconstruction has made it stronger than it was before and I feel 100 per cent,” said Davis.

But if it isn’t injuries, it’s a labour dispute. Davis is confident the impasse between the CFL and the players’ association will be resolved: “We’ll wait and see how the talks go. Hopefully, they will get a deal done soon and we’ll be heading to training camp.”

When he does go to camp, it will be in one of Canada’s two intrinsic CFL markets, along with Saskatchewan.

“Playing in a city like Hamilton, with its loyal fans who are so loud, is what you dream about as a CFL player,” said Davis.

But there’s nothing like a trip back to talk to young players where it all began at Copley Park, to help put everything into perspective.

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