Davis Named Selmon Community Spirit Award Recipient
Jan. 20, 2013
In accepting the Lee Roy Selmon Community Spirit Award Saturday night, University of Memphis departed senior Akeem Davis shared memories of how his grandfather asked him about his grades when told he wanted to play football as well as how NFL legend Steve McNair touched his life when visiting Davis' Laurel, Miss., neighborhood.
Davis was named the winner of the inaugural award during the 2012 Premier Players of College Football awards celebration in Tampa, Fla.
The award is named in honor of Pro Football Hall of Fame member Lee Roy Selmon. Beyond a collegiate career at the University of Oklahoma and a nine-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Selmon, who passed away in 2011, was a corporate and collegiate athletics executive and was also active in several charities.
"I honestly didn't know who Lee Roy Selmon was when I was told I was a finalist for this honor but I instantly went online and looked him up," Davis said in accepting the award. "I was like `Wow. This was a really phenomenal guy. An All-American at Oklahoma, he went on to do great things in Tampa both on the field and in the community.'
"I am honored to receive this award but the boat doesn't stop here," Davis said. "A lot of people have poured into my life and if those people had not poured into my life, I would not have been able to pour into the lives of others."
During his playing career at Memphis, Davis has shared many of the same goals Selmon accomplished during his life.
The two-time captain at Memphis graduated Cum Laude in December, 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration (Finance) and is working toward a Master's degree in Liberal Studies.
Davis has participated in multiple Dr. Seuss Read Across America Days, reading to children at local elementary schools. He has also volunteered at Hanley Elementary, tutoring fifth graders ahead of the TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) achievement tests. Davis has served as a volunteer at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis as well as the Children's Museum of Memphis. He is also active in his church, First Baptist Broad Avenue Church.
Davis' acceptance speech Saturday night included the story of how McNair visited his Laurel community and how the quarterback showed Davis, who used to play quarterback, how to hold and throw a football.
"He said you can be anything you want to be but it starts with yourself," Davis said. "I have remembered that. I take that with me when I talk to kids and read to kids. I give them the same message. It carries a lot of weight because there are a lot of people telling them they can't be what they want to be. They are not big enough. They are not fast enough. They are not smart enough. They are not tough enough."
The Premier Players Sports Foundation recognizes sports can be a game-changer in a child's life because it teaches team work, physical fitness, leadership, relationship building and self-confidence. The foundation's mission is to provide orphanages sports balls, apparel and league sponsorships for children can get into the game. The foundation also uses its charitable awards dinners to financially benefit other nonprofit organizations that focus on the well-being of children in orphanages, foster care or with disabilities and diseases.
In addition to Davis' honor, North Carolina State tight end Asa Watson received the Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award while Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones won the 2012 Premier Player of College Football Trophy.
ACROSS THE BAY
Devey started at left guard for the East team in the game which was also broadcast nationally on the NFL Network. The West defeated the East 28-13.
THE RAYCOM COLLEGE FOOTBALL ALL-STAR CLASSIC
Smith had three tackles (two solo stops, one assist) for the victorious Stripes team which defeated the Stars 31-3 in the inaugural game.