MUNCIE, Ind. - Ball State junior quarterback Nate Davis announced he will leave school early and declare himself eligible for the 2009 National Football League Draft, according to Ball State head football coach Stan Parrish.
We are excited for Nathan and his family, Parrish says. He has worked hard to get to this point in his career, and we wish him well. He is an excellent football player with all the necessary skills to play at the next level. He will always be a part of the Ball State football family, and we will look forward to watching him in the NFL next season.
Davis was selected the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year this season after completing 258-of-401 passes for 3,591 yards with 26 touchdowns and only eight interceptions as a senior. He became the first Ball State quarterback in school history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in a season twice in a career. He also threw for a school record 3,667 yards in 2007.
A 2008 All-MAC first team selection, Davis is one of 10 finalists for the Manning Award, which goes to the nations top college football quarterback. He completed the season ranked 13th in the nation in passing efficiency (156.97) and 19th in total offense (278.79). Davis was 22-12 as a starting quarterback for the Cardinals, including a 17-5 MAC mark as a starter.
It is with much excitement and some regret I announce my decision to declare for the NFL draft, Davis says. I am excited to accept the challenge of being a professional athlete. It is something I have dreamed about since childhood. My regret is taking on this challenge at this time means I am leaving Ball State with one year of eligibility remaining and without a MAC Championship. I have no regrets about leaving at this time without a college degree because I am confident I will return to campus to complete my degree. I made that promise to my mom, and I made that promise to myself. I will be a Ball State graduate. That is important to me, and it is important to the many people who invested in my academic success while I was a student-athlete.
" I want to thank Coach Hoke, Coach Parrish and the entire coaching staff for believing in me and my teammates throughout my three years. We did not accomplish our main goal of winning the MAC title, but we did do our part to put Ball State football on the map. I cannot thank Coach Hoke and Coach Parrish enough for convincing me to choose Ball State. I have made friends and memories here that will last a lifetime. I want to thank my teammates. A quarterback receives a great deal of the hype and attention from outsiders when a football team does well, but there is no doubt we accomplished everything as a team. At no point was I more important than Robert Brewster, Bryant Haines, MiQuale Lewis, Brandon Crawford, Chris Miller or any of my teammates. I would like to single out two of my teammates -- Joey Lynch and Dante Love -- for special thanks. I will never forget the way Joey Lynch treated me during my freshman season. He was a great quarterback and a great senior leader. I learned a lesson from him about sacrifice, humility and loyalty by the way he treated me when I took over the starting position. One day Joey will be a great head coach, hopefully at Ball State. I also want to thank Dante Love. Dante set the standard at Ball State in terms of commitment, work ethic and courage. I hope I can carry Dantes spirit with me to the NFL. He was our most valuable player.
"I would like to thank my fellow students at Ball State. The support of the football team this year made this season special. The final home game against Western Michigan is something well never forget. Finally, Id like to say I made this decision after a lot of thought. I know what Im about to do wont be easy. But its what my heart and head want to do at this time. Its the right thing for me and my family at this time. Its the same feeling I had when I chose Ball State. Not everyone understood why I picked Ball State. Not everyone will understand why Im leaving now. I hope everyone will support my decision because I plan to represent Ball State throughout my career and the rest of my life.
Davis completed his career as the Ball State record holder in yards (9,233), touchdown passes (74), pass attempts (1,124), pass completions (678), 250-yard passing games (20) and 300-yard passing games (9).
Ball State completed the 2008 season with a 12-2 overall record and an 8-0 conference ledger. The Cardinals completed the regular season with a 12-0 mark, won the MAC West Division Championship, advanced to the schools first-ever MAC Championship Game and made back-to-back bowl game appearances for the first time in Ball State history.