Nearly half an hour after a ceremony symbolized the next chapter in their football careers, Blue Springs High seniors Carlos and Khalil Davis remained on the performing arts stage inside the school, where students, coaches and family members requested an array of pictures.
The photo session was interrupted only when Carlos veered off into a corner, pulled out a chair and sat down. The ensuing deep breath appropriately represented the relief that this day was finally here — that after a whirlwind recruiting process, the Davis twins’ decision to attend Nebraska was made official on National Signing Day.
“These last 30 days,” Carlos said, shaking his head. “It’s been hard.
“For an 18-year-old, that’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made.”
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And they had to make it twice. The twin defensive tackles — both ranked among the top five seniors in Missouri, according to Rivals.com — originally committed to Nebraska on March 1, 2014.
They reopened their recruitment in early December, though, shortly after Nebraska fired head coach Bo Pelini. That ignited a firestorm among two college fan bases — specifically, Nebraska and Missouri, the two schools that appeared to be in the running to land the defensive linemen’s services.
“It’s glamorous because you have a lot of coaches talking to you, and everybody loves to be wanted,” Khalil said. “But we were ready for it all to be over. We didn’t want (our recruitment) to open back up in the first place.”
Carlos said he and Khalil considered offers from Missouri, Oregon, TCU and North Carolina State. They went as far as to schedule an official visit to Missouri to meet with Tigers coach Gary Pinkel.
But new Nebraska coach Mike Riley made the trip to Blue Springs the following day, and the Davis twins called Pinkel to cancel their scheduled trip to Columbia.
“It hurts because your home state is Missouri, and Missouri wants you, and everybody in Missouri wants you, but your heart is in Nebraska,” Khalil said. “It was hard to see all the people upset that we didn’t go to (Missouri), but you gotta do what’s best for you.”
Ultimately, that meant following in the footsteps of their uncle, Lorenzo Hicks, a cornerback with the Cornhuskers from 1984-88. Carlos, who was on crutches Wednesday because of a foot injury suffered during physical education class, said Hicks played a “major factor” in their decision to attend Nebraska.
A decision that was made final — again — on Wednesday.
“It’s a relief,” Khalil said. “The whole process was like a roller coaster. It’s finally over. It’s time to start the next journey.”