Ernie Davis Bio
The Ernie Davis bio is both impressive and sad. Just 23 at the age of his death, Davis was on his way to playing in the NFL. One of the greatest running backs in college football, Davis still has quite the legacy. Here are some basic facts about his life.
Early Life. Born in December of 1939, Davis lived in Pennsylvania in his early years. His parents were shortly separated before his father died, which caused his grandparents to raise him until he was twelve. At this point, Davis moved with his mother and new stepfather in Elimira, New York.
High school years. In Elmira, Davis was an All-American in football and basketball. In another sport, baseball, a scout thought that he could make it to the major leagues, even. However, Ernie Davis's primary sport, football, was the main attraction. More than 30 colleges came to recruit Davis. Recruited and inspired by Jim Brown, Syracuse won the bid for the running back.
College career. In college, Davis established himself as "the next Jim Brown." Davis was nothing short of dominant, breaking Brown's career records in rushing (2,386 yards), yards gained all ways (3,414), scoring (220 points), and touchdowns (35). He later was the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy in 1961. In 1979, Davis was elected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
Early death. Selected first overall in the 1962 NFL Draft, Davis was traded from the Redskins to the Browns where he would have been paired with Jim Brown. His contract was the most lucrative for any NFL rookie to that point ($80,000 base salary). Diagnosed with leukemia when preparing for the 1962 College All-Star Game, Davis never played in the NFL. He passed away in May of 1963. The Browns retired his jersey, number 45.