When Wyatt Davis was a sophomore at Naperville North High School, he was told he would never play football again.
After two concussions, Davis suffered a stroke.
“I took a hit straight to the head and had a concussion,” Davis said. “I waited my four weeks then went back and got another concussion. They really don’t know (how the stroke happened), but they think a piece of plaque or something broke off and clotted up in my brain.”
Initially, doctors told him no more football.
“I went to a neurologist and had to go through a bunch of therapy and stuff before they allowed me to play again,” Davis said. “(The therapy included) a lot of memory work and training the brain to pretty much function again. I had a lot of memory loss. They actually got it back better than it was before. Now I’m back to normal.”
And after returning to football — and starring for Class 3A semifinalist Princeton as a senior — he’s now set to continue his career in college.
Davis has committed to join his quarterback brother, Drake, at Northern Michigan University.
“It’s a blessing,” Davis said about playing in college. “Football is something I’ve grown up with. It’s a bond we all have together in our family. To be able to play with (Drake) and get that chance is unreal.
"I can’t wait to get up there and get started.”
Davis said some college coaches were wary of his past head trauma — and he even considered playing volleyball at William Penn University — but he appreciates Northern Michigan’s willingness to take a chance on him.
“A lot of colleges I talked to, because of my head situation, wouldn’t accept the risk,” Davis said. “Finding a college that would accept me for who I am and taking the risk on me, that really played a role.
'That’s why I chose Northern Michigan. They were willing to play with what I have and accept me for the situation I have. I wanted a school that was going to accept me and make it feel like home, and they really did.”
As a senior at Princeton, Davis hauled in 50 passes for 1,011 yards — setting the school’s career record for receiving yards — and eight touchdowns.
He was a unanimous All-Three Rivers Conference Mississippi Division, co-Bureau County Republican Player of the Year and NewsTribune First-Team All-Area.
“I’m so happy for Wyatt,” Princeton coach Ryan Pearson said. “Northern Michigan is getting a fantastic athlete, but an even better young man. Wyatt is a hard-working, humble, disciplined competitor. Wyatt is a tremendous ambassador for our program, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Wyatt Davis is excited for the chance to play with Drake, a redshirt freshman for the Wildcats. The pair played together at Naperville North for one season when Wyatt was a sophomore and Drake was a senior.
“It’s amazing,” said Wyatt Davis, who plans to study wildlife science. “It’s great having a quarterback you can trust and rely on. He already knows the timing is going to be there. It’s definitely going to be fun.”
Drake thinks it will be fun as well.
“It’s going to be awesome to play with my brother again,” Drake Davis said. “It’s something you dream about growing up playing together in the backyard. Not a ton of people get to play with their sibling in high school and in college, so it’s definitely a blessing to be able to do both.
"I’m looking forward to getting him up there and getting ready for the season ahead of us.”
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