From Grizzly to Lion: Payton sends first Division I football player to Columbia University

By Camille Grandjean

For the first time in Payton history, a football player will be playing Division I football in the coming fall. Myles Davis ‘17 recently committed to Columbia University in New York City to play football for the next four years.

Paw Print: When did you start playing football?

Myles Davis: “I started playing football in fourth grade on a Park District team.”

PP: Who got you into football?

MD: “I got myself into football by watching it, but my parents didn’t let me play until fourth grade. Interesting actually, I played basketball since I was five because my dad put me in a league, but I never really liked basketball, and so I played basketball and then played football.”

PP: At Payton, what do you love about football the most?

MD: “The high school atmosphere. In grade school, you’re kinda just playing because you like playing, and you’re playing with your friends, but I think in high school the added element of the crowd, the magnitude of the games is bigger, you’re kind of playing for city pride.”

PP: If you could change one thing about the way you play, what would it be? MD: “I wish I was more aggressive; I wish I liked to hit people more, but I moreso just like to run around people.”

PP: What motivates you to get out of bed and go to practice every day?

MD: “That’s a great question (laughs). I think the one thing that motivates me the most is not wanting to be average. I feel like I would let people down if I was just like, ‘Oh, you played football at Columbia.’ I’d rather say I was a beast at Columbia and have people know me. The fear of mediocrity– –I just came up with that, that’s kind of beast. (laughs)”

PP: Looking back on your four years of Payton football, what is one of your best memories?

MD: “Well, I don’t really remember too much from before this year, but one memory was from the Simeon game. It was an option play so Zach [Wang, quarterback,] can choose to give me the ball or he can keep it, and so during the game he asks me ‘Yo, Myles do you want to take the ball or do you want me to keep it?’ and then I see the other team all blitzing, and so I know if I get the ball I’m gonna get crushed so I was like ‘Nah, you can keep it.’ So Zach keeps it, and gets smacked and then looks up at me as soon as he goes down. It was so funny.”

PP: And your worst memory?

MD: “There aren’t many of them. Probably just conditioning.”

PP: Who is your number one fan?

MD: “I don’t want to out anybody. (laughs) Honestly, it’s probably either my dad or Joey Li. Joey is the biggest cheerleader.”

PP: When you were younger, did you think that you would want to play in college or that you would play in college?

MD: “I think I always wanted to and then when I came into high school I was like ‘maybe I don’t have to,’ but then junior year once it started to become a reality, I just kind of accepted it.”

PP: So, how does it feel to be already into college?

MD: “It feels nice. (laughs)”

PP: What did the college application process look like for you?

MD: “Basically I wrote my personal essay, and that was just like everyone else writing their personal essay. But for supplementals, I literally just wrote what my initial answer to the question was, kind of put it into an essay form, sent it to their English teacher review people or whatever, they edited it and then I just pretty much put that in.”

PP: How did you get discovered by Columbia? And can you describe the recruitment process?

MD: “So it was right after junior year, I got my junior film together, I gave it to Coach [Klupchak],. Coach sent it to pretty much all the Ivy Leagues just because that’s what he does. They liked it and contacted me. Then over the summer, I went to a camp at Northwestern, and they were there. They pretty much talked to me the entire time, and I talked to them before and after. But schools actually offered later.”

PP: What were the factors that made you choose Columbia over the other schools you had offers from?

MD: “Going to Payton, obviously education is pretty important, so I knew if I had the opportunity to go to an Ivy League that’s probably what I would do. And then, Columbia just had the best opportunity for me to both to play and to play for a good team. Their team, it’s not good now, but they have pieces in place to become really good when I’m there, so it was that, and then of course there’s no city better than New York.”

PP: Are you excited to be playing with a brand new team and at a completely different level?

MD: “Yeah, I think Payton, it’s not like low-tier, but you’re not contending for a championship. But I think to be playing with people who are just as good as you is pretty exciting.”

PP: Are you nervous at all?

MD: “No, I’m pretty excited.”

PP: What are some goals you have for yourself as far as football in college?

MD: “I don’t think I have any specific goals. I definitely want to play in at least three or four games and then hopefully start by junior year.”

PP: Are you nervous at all about balancing football and school?

MD: “Yeah, it’s going to be difficult, but you know, so is Payton. I like challenges.”

PP: As of this moment, what are you most excited about for playing in college?

MD: “Getting to play on TV.”

PP: How do you feel about living in New York for the next four years?

MD: “I actually haven’t really thought about that. I think it’ll be kind of like Chicago. I’ve been to the campus which is right in the city, so that’ll be fun. I always wanted to go to an urban campus because I didn’t want to grow up in Chicago and then go to like Pigtown.”

PP: What do you plan on studying at Columbia? Why?

MD: “Neuroscience. I think it combines my two interests: psychology and biology.”

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