Turning on the AC: Glendale High's Michael Davis shows up

If only.

That has been my unofficial catch phrase for Glendale High alumnus Michael Davis since I arrived at the Los Angeles Times Community News division in the summer of 2011.

I’ve covered my share of future professional athletes and didn’t know quite what to think of Davis. After speaking with area coaches, players, fans and scouts, it became obvious I wasn’t alone.

Davis was then as electrifying as he was enigmatic.

The wide receiver could fly down the sideline for an unbelievable kickoff return for a score on one play or turn a five-yard hitch into a 35-yard completion on another.

Yet, for all the play-making, Davis was saddled on a team that won six games in his three years on varsity.

Perhaps that’s why he didn’t generate more buzz than he should have.

If only he played at another school.

Of course, an argument could be made that Davis didn’t help his cause.

The track speedster made his coaches’ teeth grind. He’d show up late for football coach John Tuttle’s practices. He completely bailed on poor track coach Andy Dakopolos on two occasions in the lead-up to the CIF State Track and Field Championships.

He even ditched Yours Truly when we agreed on a feature and track preview.

If only he cared a little bit more.

Davis finished his high school career by taking fifth place at the state championships at Clovis High in the 200-meter dash in a time of 21.58 seconds.

He took his success from Glendale High athletics and parlayed that into a four-year tenure at Brigham Young University in Utah.

Davis’ career naturally progressed as he switched from wide receiver to defensive back. He showed promised after a sophomore season in which he started all 13 games and tallied 43 tackles and six pass break-ups.

That sort of play earned him a Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team nod and hype that he was due for a monster year.

In Davis’ junior campaign, though, his tackles dropped to 27 even as his pass breakups rose to 10.

By the middle of his senior season, Davis had lost his starting job to a freshman and finished with 23 tackles and one notable interception against Michigan State.

His football career seemed over.

If only he worked harder.

Then when it seemed like football had nothing left for Michael Davis, the senior showed up at BYU’s Pro Day and wowed on March 24 when he ran a smoking 4.34 second 40-yard dash, which was the fastest Davis had ever run.

It was that time that put Davis back on the map and made him attractive even when he went undrafted.

On April 29, the Los Angeles Chargers, a team known for taking chances on undrafted free agents, signed the rookie.

If only he could focus.

Since his signing, Davis has been a different man.

He was not late to any practices and never had his work ethic questioned. Davis also avoided any non-football related drama, such as a parking space incident his junior year at BYU, that had previously sidetracked him.

The 22-year-old cornerback even earned the praise and respect of teammates as he turned in a strong training camp. While other players hooped and hollered, Davis silently watched and learned.

He made his share of plays during practice and waited for his time.

As for the preseason, well, Davis took his lumps. He recovered from a shaky first game against the Seattle Seahawks and continued to see plenty of time on the field.

Judgment day finally came Saturday when Davis was one of 22 players waived by the Chargers as the team reduced its roster to 53.

If only he had made one more play.

Again, Michael Davis’ football career was over.

Yet, again, he found a lifeline as he signed and joined the Chargers’ practice squad. While Davis won’t play on Sundays, he’ll practice against the pros and bide his time.

I hope he learns, progresses and continues to grow. Then maybe he’ll get that chance, maybe he’ll get that call from the Chargers saying they’re ready to sign him.

If only.

andrew.campa@latimes.com

Twitter @campadresports

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