Last year was a big one for Michael Davis.
The incoming senior used his speed to put together standout years for Glendale High on the track and football field.
Most recently, Davis finished off an incredible season for the Nitros track and field program by becoming the first Glendale High athlete to qualify for the CIF State Championships since 1986. He went on to take seventh in the 200-meter at the State Meet in 21.82 seconds.
It was Davis' breakaway speed on the football field that earned him first-team All-Pacific League and second-team All-Area honors and a NCAA Division I scholarship offer from Brigham Young, which he accepted on July 27.
"It doesn't happen that often [at Glendale] and it showed people they have a chance to," said Glendale offensive lineman and defensive tackle Patrick Novshadian of the impact Davis had on his school by signing a Division I football scholarship.
It's safe to say Davis has put Glendale High on the map, particularly on a football program that has struggled the past decade with just four wins over the past three seasons and hasn't had a playoff appearance since 2003.
"When his name comes up, Glendale High comes up," said Christian Osorio, who will start at running and defensive back this season for the Nitros. "He is definitely putting the school's name on the board. He's also doing all these things in track, he's doing great things for the school."
Still, Davis wants to do more for the Nitros — primarily in football — in his final high school season. He's not only looking to improve on his yardage and touchdowns from 2011, a season when he racked up 860 receiving yards on 52 receptions and also had two 90-plus yard kickoff returns, but help restore some pride to Glendale football in the first year under coach John Tuttle.
"I want to try to get Glendale football a winning season and show they can win more than two games," said Davis, who saw the Nitros' two wins in last year's 2-8 season come against cross-town, league-rival Hoover. "Hopefully, we always want to have a winning season — win five games or more. We are praying for that, trying to see if we can do it."
Tuttle said Glendale's success this year will in large part depend on Davis' playmaking ability.
"I think the strength of the team will probably be in our skill spots," Tuttle said. "Michael makes us a lot better at wide receiver. I think that's where we'll be our strongest."
Said Novshadian: "He's a big part of the team. He basically is the team leader and gets everybody to do good if he's doing good. He sets the tempo basically."
Martin Marin, a junior, and Osorio add to what the Nitros believe will be an improved offense in a run-heavy system this year. After a strong spring and summer, Marin will look to take some pressure off Davis at wide receiver and also benefit from defenses focusing in on Davis.
"He is going to be a playmaker," Osorio said of Davis. "Have him run a streak and watch him outrun the corner. If teams are going to triple team him we are just going to throw it to other guys, which is probably what they're going to do."
While a run-first offense doesn't sound like it would yield a big season for Davis, Tuttle will be looking to get the ball into the hands of the 6-foot-2, 180-pound wide receiver any way he can. The senior is set to get some carries at running back, quarterback and plenty of passes thrown his way, of course.
"We've been working on him out [at receiver], getting off jams and stuff like that — finding ways to get him the ball offensively, putting him in a place to be successful," Tuttle said.
No matter how much or little success he has in 2012, Davis will have already established a legacy with Glendale athletics when he graduates in June.
He's just trying to add to it.