Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis won’t be the first member of his family to be signed by an NFL team. Davis, who was surprisingly drafted by the Titans in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft with the fifth overall pick, is the brother of retired wide receiver Titus Davis.
Davis played four years at Western Michigan before finally declared himself ready for the NFL draft. During his college career, he racked up 5,278 receiving yards on 331 receptions and had 52 receiving touchdowns. The 22-year-old Chicago native also participated in three bowl games – the 2014 Famous Idaho Patato Bowl, the 2015 Bahamas Bowl and the 2017 Cotton Bowl Classic.
You can follow Davis on Twitter here.
Here’s what you need to know about Davis’ family.
1. Brother Titus Went to Central Michigan & Has Already Retired From Football
Davis’ brother is Corey Davis, who was also a wide receiver. Although he’s just 24 years old, Davis is already out of the NFL.
Since Titus wasn’t drafted, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the San Diego Chargers in after the 2015 draft. But by August 2015, he was already cut by the team.
In September 2015, Titus joined the New York Jets practice squad, but was cut a month later. Days after his first Jets tenure ended, the Bills signed him. By November 2015, he was off the Bills roster and back with the Jets. He was released again by the Jets a few days later.
In January 2016, Titus signed with the Jets for a third time. His tenure lasted until training camp started, when he told the team he just didn’t want to play football anymore. He retired from football without ever playing in a pro game.
2. Davis & His 6 Siblings Grew Up in a Small, 4-Bedroom House
Davis and his older brother Titus did not have it easy growing up. According to MLive.com, Davis was the second-youngest of seven children who all grew up in a four-bedroom house. He shared a single room with Titus and another older brother, Tomais. They grew up in poverty and Davis did his best to survive in the situation.
“It’s ridiculous,” Davis told MLive.com. “I don’t understand how I got through that. It was definitely hard. I don’t blame anyone. It helped make me who I am today, playing Division I football for a great coach and a great program.”
His parents, Olasheni Timson and Michelle Davis, loved their children, but they could not afford to provide all the necessities. Davis told MLive.com that he even had to find money himself to play sports and to pay for his own meals. The family moved from Chicago to Wheaton, Illinois while he was in kindergarten. He attended Wheaton Warrenville South High School.
“It was really rough at times,” Davis told MLive.com. “I could never understand why my parents couldn’t provide for us. I guess it brought me and my brothers closer. I guess it helped make me who I am today.”
Davis’ first role model outside his family was Katie Valentino, a teacher and guidance councilor at his high school. Valentino helped Davis realize that it was okay to face struggles in life because he could persevere. He turned his grades around by the time he graduated.
3. His Sister LaToya Wants to Use His Draft Money for Butt Implants
Davis’s oldest sister, LaToya Davis, told TMZ sports that she has a strange request for her brother. She wants to get butt implants.
However, she did tell the site she was only joking and isn’t really expecting her brother to use his signing bonus on that. She did tell TMZ that she’ll take the implants if he’s willing to pay for it.
4. Dan Graham Became Davis’ Legal Guardian & Provided a Good Home for Davis During High School
Before his junior year in high school, Davis found another family. He was taken in by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Dan Graham and his wife Robin Graham. Their own son, Ryan Graham, played football with Davis and would go on to be a quarterback at Northern Illinois.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Davis and Ryan met while playing Pee Wee Football, with Dan Graham as coach. The two became close friends and Ryan’s parents saw how tough life was for their son’s friend. They offered Davis a new home and Graham became Davis’ legal guardian.
“There was a need and we were able to provide a home for Corey,” Graham told the Tribune.
Davis’ real parents are still part of his life and supported his decision to live with the Grahams.
“They’re still involved and I love them to death,” Davis said of his parents. “It was an experience. I didn’t want to hurt my biological family, or the Grahams. It’s really a blessing to have two sets of parents.”
“He became part of our family,” Graham told MLive.com. “We treated him like he was part of our family and we still do. Corey is a great person and just needed a change of environment to make it happen. …He had a lot to overcome to be able to be a college athlete and to get the opportunity that he did. I’m really proud of him.”
5. Titus & Davis Played at Rival Schools in College
While Davis played for Western Michigan, Titus was at rival Mid-American Conference school Central Michigan. This meant that the two often played against each other and forced their family to choose sides. For those games, half the family wore Western Michigan’s colors and the other half wore Central Michigan’s colors.
“My grandma wore maroon and gold (last year); I wasn’t happy about that,” Davis told USA Today Sports in 2014.
Even while playing for rivals, the two remained close. They often talked about the different families they grew up with in high school. Davis actually followed Titus’ lead, since Titus lived with Joe Hall during high school.
“We talk every day almost,” Titus told The Morning Sun in November 2013. “We were on the phone for a good hour or hour and a half Sunday night. Briefly we talked about the game, but more about reminiscing. Stuff like that. We talked about school and I made sure everything is going well for him.”
“We both lived with different families, so we have our biological family and then our different families,'” Titus told the Morning Sun. “They all support us and I know they are all going to be there. We are looking forward to it. My dad (Olasheni Timpson) said he has something split to wear. I’m excited to see it.”
Even though Davis had a stellar high school career, his ACT score prevented him from getting a scholarship. It’s why he played for a MAC school instead of one in the Big Ten. In an interview with American Sports Net, Davis credited Dan Graham with helping him get into college at all. He said Graham got him a tutor who helped him raise his ACT score.
“I almost didn’t make it,” Davis told American Sports Net. “My senior year, I sort of woke up to what I had to do. I have a lot of people who helped me and looking back I realize I’m blessed to be where I am.” He added that the Graham family “changed my life.”
“It’s because of them I’m where I’m at today. I hope to be like them some day and give back the less fortunate and change lives,” Davis said in the interview.
Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck, who was at Western Michigan from 2013 to 2016, also stepped in to make sure Davis played for him after Davis’ high school coach’s recommendation.
Davis stayed at Western Michigan for a four seasons to make sure he got his degree. Even though he’s 22 years old, he’s still projected to be drafted in the Top 20.