Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Carlos Davis Aiming For All-American

By Brian Rosenthal

He’s been coaching them for three years, and Scott Cappos still can’t assuredly tell apart twin brothers Carlos and Khalil Davis, starting defensive linemen for the Nebraska football team.

That is, unless you put them in a discus ring.

“When they throw,” Cappos said, “I can tell you instantly who’s-who.”

Cappos, the throws coach for the Nebraska track and field team, says the 6-foot-2, 295-pound Carlos Davis is a bit more athletic in his movements, relying a bit more on technique, whereas Khalil Davis, the same height and nearly the same weight, is more powerful.

Both set career marks this spring, with Khalil Davis throwing 188-4 on May 13 at the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Indiana.

Carlos Davis, meanwhile, saved his best for the NCAA West Preliminary Round, where he placed third with a throw of 188-1, meaning he’s making his first appearance at the NCAA Championships on Friday in Eugene, Oregon.

Carlos Davis and senior Nick Percy, the 2016 NCAA discus champion who ranks No. 3 on the Nebraska all-time discus throw chart, will begin competition at 7:05 Friday, with ESPN providing television and internet streaming coverage. All broadcasts will be streamed live online at or the Watch ESPN app.

“I want to be All-American,” Carlos Davis said matter-of-factly. “My goal is to do that in football, and it will come. But now that I have the opportunity in track, I’m going to try to do it.”

The top eight finishers achieve All-American status, and Carlos Davis enters competition with the nation’s sixth-best throw this spring.

At Blue Springs High School in Blue Springs, Missouri, Carlos Davis threw 214-4 as a senior, the best prep mark in the nation in 2015. He attributes that breakthrough to a new coach that focused more on technique.

“He came, and he broke it down, and in one year we were throwing over 200,” Carlos Davis said. “Coach Cappos is the same way. Very technical in our steps. That’s what’s progressed us here.”

A video program through Hudl allows track and field athletes to break down their every move.

“It slows the video down and you can see your steps throughout the ring,” Carlos Davis said. “It’s really all about angles, and the way you turn your feet and the way you move and how you balance in the ring.”

The Davis twins both began track and field in the eighth grade.

“We used to run,” Carlos Davis said, “but I was the heavier one, so I had to go throw. I was too heavy to run.”

Khalil, meanwhile, didn’t start throwing discus until his sophomore year, “and you can definitely tell in our throws.”

Cappos agreed, saying the Davis twins have different talents in why they’re successful.

“One of the things you want to do in throwing is have a long path of acceleration, and you want to accelerate through that path, to the finish,” Cappos said. “Carlos does a good job of accelerating to the finish, and it’s really all with the legs. The legs have to turn and drive forward, and he’s really done a great job of executing that this year.

“Being on the football field every Saturday for several months, I think coming out and throwing in a competitive environment is different, but you’re still out there to execute and compete.”

Last fall, Carlos Davis finished sixth on the football team in tackles (42) and second in sacks (2.5), while Khalil had a career-high 15 tackles, tripling his total from his redshirt freshman season, and set career highs with four tackles for loss and two sacks.

With a new coaching staff entering and focusing on changing culture, including an emphasis on offseason conditioning, Carlos Davis admitted he felt a tad guilty leaving his football brethren at the conclusion of spring football to focus on track.

But first-year football coach Scott Frost not only gave his blessing, he encouraged the Davis twins. After all, Frost was an accomplished thrower in high school, and his mother was a track and field Olympian, throwing the discus in the 1968 Games.

“He can relate. He understands,” Carlos Davis said. “Coach Frost and Coach (Zach) Duvall, they were excited about it. They’re like, ‘you’re in track now, you need to do track stuff. Don’t want to mess you up.’

“It lets me know I can go be great in track and have him supporting. It takes a lot of pressure off.”

Davis will return to Lincoln on Saturday, take Sunday off, and resume football activity on Monday. An avid outdoorsman, he might hit up his favorite fishing hole on the west side of Lincoln.

“If it were me, I would never leave Lincoln. I love the outdoors” he said, noting he found this particular spot through one of the coaches on the track team.

Just another benefit of being a multisport athlete at Nebraska.

“The track family, I love the throwers,” Carlos Davis said. “They’re a great group. I love being around them. It’s just another support system outside of football.”

Reach Brian at or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.


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