USF's Andre Davis excited to stay home with Bucs
Andre Davis would have taken a shot to play anywhere in the NFL, but it means that much more that he was signed to the practice squad of the Bucs, having spent his football career in Tampa at Jefferson High and at USF.
"It definitely means a lot to me, to be doing what I love in the city I love," Davis said Wednesday before donning a No. 19 jersey for his first Bucs practice.
Davis, who rewrote USF's receiving records in four years with the Bulls, went undrafted this spring but signed with the Bills, where he was among the final preseason cuts. He wasn't signed to a practice squad, however, and didn't have a workout until Monday, when he impressed the Bucs and gave himself another chance to prove himself in the NFL.
"Everything works out," said Davis, who said the Bills recently reached out to him wanting him to go with them to London for a game, but he didn't have a valid passport. "It's definitely extra motivation, just more fuel to the fire with not being drafted. I've got a great opportunity to come here and go my thing where I'm from."
If Davis were promoted and played for the Bucs, he would be the first Bucs player to play high school and college in Tampa and then play in town for the Bucs. Linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, who played at USF and played in three games for the Bucs in 2010, went to high school at Riverview in southeast Hillsborough County.
Others have played at USF and went to high school in the Tampa Bay area -- current Bucs cornerback Mike Jenkins played for the Bulls and went to Bradenton Southeast, while long-snapper Ryan Benjamin, who was on the Bucs' 2002 Super Bowl championship squad, went to River Ridge High in New Port Richey before he went to USF.
Defensive end Ryne Giddins (Armwood/USF) was on the Bucs' roster for three weeks in August 2014 but didn't make the final roster cuts, and receiver Carlton Mitchell (Gaither/USF) spent three months on the Bucs' roster in summer 2013 but also missed the final cut.
The Bucs also had two former University of Tampa players play for them in their early years, but neither was from Tampa -- Darryl Carlton (1977-79) was from Bartow and Noah Jackson (1984) from Jacksonville.