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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

BYU football: Former BYU great Margin Hooks helps lure Akile Davis to Provo

By Brandon Gurney, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Aug. 5 12:30 a.m. MDT

 BYU's Margin Hooks just misses catching a pass from Kevin Feterik during Saturday afternoon's game against San Jose State University.

BYU's Margin Hooks just misses catching a pass from Kevin Feterik during Saturday afternoon's game against San Jose State University.

(Chuck Wing, Deseret News archives)

DESOTO, Texas — Former BYU receiver Margin Hooks did a lot for BYU during his playing days, and it appears he’s still giving.

Hooks played an integral role in helping secure the commitment of BYU’s latest prospect, Akile Davis.

Davis, a 6-foot-2, 188-pound receiver from DeSoto High School, committed to Cougar coaches on Monday, shortly after a phone conversation with Hooks that helped change his entire perspective of BYU.

“He let me know how it really was,” Davis related. “I mean, I had a bunch of thoughts about what I thought BYU was like, but I really didn’t know. Margin Hooks really helped change my whole perspective of the school and the program to the point where I really wanted to commit there.”

Cougar coaches first contacted Davis this past spring. Receivers coach Guy Holliday was his primary contact, but even though Holliday expressed a lot of interest, that interest wasn’t exactly reciprocated.

“I just didn’t know anything other than what I was told about BYU, and what I was told made BYU seem like a place I wouldn’t like,” Davis said.

Regardless of his preconceived notions, Holliday continued pursuing the non-LDS prospect and grew to form a strong relationship with him, according to Davis.

Other schools pursued Davis as well, making BYU’s chances seem remote at best up until his commitment. In recent articles with both rivals.com and scout.com, he gave strong indication that BYU was almost completely out of the picture.

“I had pretty much decided it was going to be between Indiana and San Diego State before I got that call,” Davis said.

Hooks was contacted by the Cougar coaching staff after Davis flat out told them his concern of not fitting in at BYU as a non-LDS minority athlete. Cougar coaches, in turn, contacted the former BYU great, asking him to share his own experiences in Provo as a minority athlete.

Hooks delivered.

“Like I said, that conversation changed everything for me,” Davis said. “Margin let me know BYU was a place with wonderful facilities and full of great people who really care about your well-being and your growth both spiritually and academically. It was a really great conversation.”

Academics is a big thing for Davis, who plans to major in education and hopes to coach football following his playing days.

“Coach Holliday always stressed that if I got a degree at BYU, I’d be set for life,” Davis said. “I’ve done my own research, and it’s obvious BYU is a top school. So that’s a big thing for me as well. Getting that education, and being set for life with a degree — that’s huge.”

Davis has yet to set foot on BYU’s campus, but believes he knows enough about the program and the school to make an informed decision.

“What separated BYU from the other schools recruiting me were the coaches,” Davis said. “Coach Holliday especially is someone I trust completely and someone I feel very comfortable with. I’ve just formed a great relationship with him and want to play for him at the next level.”

Davis, who cites a 4.54 40-yard time, held as many as 10 offers from such schools as Indiana, North Texas, San Diego State and Toledo at the time of his commitment.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

Recommended
1. Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

Yes! Another 5 stars!

2. Kralon
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA,
Aug. 4, 2014

Love you Ernest!

Akile is a two or three star player, depending on which service you look at. But, he seems to be wise for his age and BYU is often able to help players get better than they seem. As long as players not only understand, but look forward to the commitment, I think they will do well.

Welcome to BYU, Akile, and I hope you have a great time and do well both on and off the field!

3. sammyg
Springville, UT,
Aug. 5, 2014

That takes some guts to commit and he has never set foot on the campus.

I think hw will be pleasantly surprised when he gets here.

4. CougarColby
Fort Benning, GA,
Aug. 5, 2014

Ernest, you just make the argument that much easier for us BYU fans. BYU consistently does more with less than nearly any other program in the country. Recruiting (generally) predominantly LDS kids, players who take two years off from missions, and occasionally get that 4 or 5 "star" recruit. And year after year we are playing in bowl games and (besides last year) have done very well in bowl games under the Mendenhall era.

BYU does more with less on a consistent basis.

5. Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 5, 2014

Well, I'll be consistent and say yes I guess power 5 program wanted him. You guys beat out Indiana and Toledo for this recruit!