HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - If you've lived in or around Jones County the past decade, you know who Akeem Davis is.
He certainly didn't fly under USM coach Jay Hopson's radar, who remembers watching Davis lead Laurel High to the 2007 state championship.
"If I had still been here as an assistant coach, Akeem would've played for Southern Miss back in '07," Hopson said. "I loved him out of Laurel. He was a quarterback out of Laurel. We loved him to death. I can still remember going up to the state championship game, watching Akeem play."
Coincidentally, Hopson was at the University of Memphis when Davis was coming out of high school. After Davis spent a season at JCJC, Hopson would get the chance to coach the talented cornerback.
Years later, the two find themselves on the same sideline once again, as Akeem has joined Hopson's coaching staff as a defensive grad assistant.
"When I was a graduate assistant at the University of Memphis, coach Hopson was my defensive coordinator," Davis said. "I played for him. Right then he told me, 'I don't know what you want to do in life but whenever you get ready to decide what you want to do you make sure you call me.' We were eating lunch at a taco place and he told me that. Three years later, I followed his plight, we made it happen and it's been a pleasure ever since."
Davis signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Washington Redskins in 2014. And after bouncing around with seven different NFL teams, Davis took a break from football last year. However, he's happy to be back around the game and he's going back to school to stud sports management at Southern Miss.
"It's great to have him at Southern Miss," Hopson said. "I love him to death and he's just an excellent football coach. What can I say, it's just fun to have him on our staff."
"Just seeing the kids, they're going through the same plight that I've been through," Davis said. "I can see the same things that they're seeing. I've played on the same levels that they want to play on. Just to see where they're going, the strides that they're making is fantastic. I love it."