Brett Davis, star defensive end for Georgetown's football team, knows he will never get the sort of attention reserved for members of the school's national championship basketball team, but that's not not really why he plays the game.
"Football has to be fun," said Davis, who grew up in Bethesda and went to Whitman High School. "There's no other reason for me to play."
Davis is mostly an unknown on his own campus. "It's the quart and gallon theory," said Coach Scotty Glacken. "You're comparing (football to basketball) a full quart to a full gallon. Both men are dedicating themselves to a sport. But the recognition is not the same."
"We don't get much crowd support or school support," Davis said. "The professors don't know that we play football. They're not trying to help us out in class."
Glacken likes it that way. "I went to Duke University and we got absolutely zero breaks in the classroom. And I don't think we have to make any sacrifices here. It is not necessary for individuals in our football program to get those breaks. I didn't get them and I don't think they need them now."
All the breaks Davis looks for are to be found on the playing field. And he is beginning to post some impressive numbers.
Last season he made 44 tackles in eight games, 22 solos and 22 assists. This season, against Dickinson, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior made 15 tackles; then he made 10 against Franklin and Marshall, decent numbers for a finance major not too interested in statistics.
"I had a lot of energy built up inside of me last week," said Davis, who had missed three weeks because of a pulled hamstring. "I hope I can keep it up. But I look at it another way, too. Fifteen tackles means someone else is missing tackles."
Davis chose Georgetown over the University of Richmond and James Madison University for the academics as well as the chance to play football right away. After being switched from linebacker midway through his freshman season, Davis started at defensive end.
It is not all that complex a position, he said. "I just react to the keys in front of me. At first I reacted slowly, but then I just did it. There's really not much to it. If you're thinking, then it's too late."
"He's a very intelligent player, one of the top defensive linemen I've had in 16 years," Glacken said. "He's a quiet leader who leads by action.
"He's the type of guy most people don't know much about. He keeps a very low profile. Never hear a word from him. But when the whistle blows, he lets his game do the talking."
Davis recognizes these qualities in himself. "I'm not the type to jump around and rah-rah. I don't think about that too much. You become a leader by showing people what to do."
He has been doing that since the 10th grade at Whitman, where he first started playing football over the objections of his mother. "She didn't want me to play football, but all my buddies played and it seemed like a natural step. She wasn't too hard (to convince) in the end."
His father, an executive for Ford Motor Co., had no objections that his third son become the first to play football. "He gave me a lot of support, but he didn't push me into anything. He comes to most of the games, including up to Lancaster (where Georgetown played F&M)."
In addition to football, young Davis has been running a landscaping business for a few years.
"I have a truck (a Ford Ranger) and I get a couple of neighborhood kids and we go around and do general landscaping," Davis said. "We make a lot of money. It helps being in a wealthy neighborhood. I tried construction this summer, but I gave that up when I saw I could make more money running a landscaping business."
But each fall Davis returns to a different field. "Playing football helps me budget my time," he said. "I'd just be goofing off otherwise. It's also one of the reasons I play rugby in the spring. I'd like to say I do something intellectual, but it doesn't work out that way."