Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Davis Twins Aim For All-American Status In Discus

By Brian Rosenthal

You’d better believe that twin brothers Carlos Davis and Khalil Davis love to compete against each other, no matter the game, no matter the consequences.

Pushing each other, always trying to outdo the other, is a big reason the Nebraska football defensive linemen both qualified in the discus for next week’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas.

“We see it quite a bit,” Nebraska assistant coach Scott Cappos said. “We almost try to separate it, sometimes, because they always want to out-throw each other. We play off that a little bit in competition, but sometimes in practice we have to tone that down and focus on executing the technique properly.

“But they’ve definitely been tight competitors. It’s kind of fun to watch.”

Carlos Davis will be competing in his second consecutive NCAA Championships. He finished third at the Big Ten Championships with a toss of 183 feet, 3 inches, and finished fourth and earned the No. 9 mark in program history last weekend at the NCAA West Preliminary Round with a throw of 191-11.

Khalil Davis, meanwhile, will be making his first appearance at the NCAA Championships. He qualified last weekend with a throw of 181-11 to finish 10th at the NCAA West Preliminary Round.

Any tips from Carlos to Khalil about prepping for the big stage?

“I just kind of told him the hardest part was getting to nationals, because regionals is no joke,” Carlos said. “You only get three throws, and you’ve got to do your best one. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous (last weekend). My first throw was not good. I got to warm up to get into things for discus.”

In fact, Carlos didn’t qualify for the NCAA Championship until breaking through on his final attempt.

“Now we can have fun, enjoy the trip, enjoy the scenery,” Carlos said, “and just throw big.”

The seniors are thankful that despite football coaching changes, they’ve been able to compete in track all four years.

“It’s always good to plug out from football and do something new, because you can get worn out in a sport like football,” Khalil said. “It’s just a good relief. But we don’t want to be gone too long, because football still is our number one sport. We always love to get back.” 

Khalil (pictured above) is coming off a breakthrough junior football season, when he led the Husker defensive line with a career-high 41 tackles, more than doubling his career total entering the year. He also posted career highs with eight tackles for loss, three sacks and four quarterback hurries.

Khali said his training under strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval is what allowed him to play at a high level, and to see as many snaps as he did in a back-up role.

Unlike previous springs, when the Davis twins were solely involved in track, this time they’re continuing to lift with Duvall. 

“We’re kind of modified, because we’re in track,” Carlos said. “So they don’t have us lifting like we would if we were training for fall camp. We’re still doing lifts with them. It’s just that ours are kind of tapered for throwing.”

Cappos jokes the Davis twins are always changing hairstyles, making it difficult for him to tell who’s who – that is, until they step in the ring. Then, he can quickly tell them apart.

“Carlos’ flow is a little bit better, a little better athletic movement,” Cappos said. “Khalil is a lot more powerful. They both plays to their strengths, and they’ve been very successful doing it that way.”

While Carlos (pictured above) has thrown well all spring, Khalil is just now returning to full health after battling an injury – just in time for his first and only appearance at nationals.

“I think the biggest thing for Khalil is just kind of following the leads of some of the more veteran athletes we have,” Cappos said. “It’s really nothing different. They’ve faced a lot of these athletes throughout the year. So they’re definitely prepared. It’s going out there and executing the way they can.”

Longtime Nebraska track and field coach Gary Pepin said he’s enjoyed having the Davis twins on his team, and believes that with Scott Frost at the helm of the football program, the track and field program will see more football players.

“What impresses me probably the most is what fun guys and what nice guys they are,” Pepin said of the Davis brothers. “Everybody knew they were really good and gifted athletes and stuff, but I think they’re a real positive factor to have on the team. They’re well-disciplined, good competitors, they’re a lot of fun, the kids like them.

“I’ve been here a long time, and a few times during those 39 years, we’ve had a few football players that have come out and done well. Not near as many as a lot of our opponents had, but I think with the new staff in there, we’ll start getting more of the same kid of athletes out of the group. Certainly we told Scott we want to work and help him however we can to get some speed and great athletes on the team.”

Carlos and Khalil didn’t join the track team but only for the last 4 weeks, or since the end of the spring semester. They’ll take a couple of days to relax upon returning from nationals, then return their services full time to Frost and the football program.

“We know he checks up us every now and then.” Carlos said. “I think he’s rooting for us. I don’t think he’s ever been disappointed with us doing both. He just wants the best for us – place top eight, do what we’re capable of.”

A top-eight finish would garner All-American status. With the Davis brothers pushing and competing the way they do, they feel that is attainable.

“We usually do better when we’re both together,” Khalil said. “We just love to compete. It doesn’t matter who it is or what day. We just love to compete.”

Reach Brian at brosenthal@huskers.com or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.

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