A local college football star is speaking out about the importance of education. Gulfport native Rod Davis plays middle linebacker at the University of Southern Mississippi. He says although he was heavily recruited by the National Football League, he decided to go back to school and finish his senior season.
Ten and half sacks, two fumble recoveries and more than 150 tackles was enough to earn Southern Miss's Rod Davis the 2002 Conerly trophy. Davis held up the award as he talked to students at Gaston Point Elementary in Gulfport.
"This trophy right here is for being the best football player in the state of Mississippi, so I'm very proud of it this."
Then Davis showed students the accomplishment he was most proud of - his high school diploma.
A high school diploma is a long way off for students at Gaston Point Elementary. Rod Davis told them to get there, they must stay in school and work hard.
"You cannot take nobody's knowledge, what a person knows up here. So I feel that when I get that degree, no one can take that away," said Davis. "Football could be gone to me tomorrow."
Davis told students it doesn't matter if they want to be a doctor, teacher or football player, they'll need an education to achieve their dreams.
He says talking to students about staying in school is one of the most exciting things he's able to do.
"Knowing that I can tell them something that will help them, even if it's one, two, just somebody."