Akeem Davis knows the situation he's in. That's why he refuses to take a play off.
Signed by the Washington Redskins as free agent in April, the former Memphis Tiger has an uphill climb to make the final 53-man roster. But that won't stop him from working as hard as he can to make his way up the depth chart.
He displayed his tenacious mindset throughout his collegiate career at Memphis, logging 162 tackles, five forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries in 32 games.
It carried over to his Redskins debut Thursday vs. New England when he recovered a fumble on special teams. While the play was ultimately called back due to penalty, he provided the coaches an in-game example of what he's capable of.
"Don't take plays off because you simply never know," Davis said. "You never know when you'll be the guy that's called up and you never want to get caught slipping out there and you miss out on an opportunity.
"So the best way to take advantage of an opportunity and cash out is to put yourself in the best possible position when it comes. Even though we didn't have the chance to capitalize on the fumble, I got a chance to put some good on film and show the coaches and have them say 'I think we can do something with this guy. I think we can find a spot for him because he goes hard.'"
On the defensive side of the ball, Davis like to "fly around" and wreak havoc at the second-level.
"I don't take plays off and I play with a helluva a lot of passion," he explained. "I try to show the coaches that I want to be here, I want to contribute to this organization in any way I can and I will be an asset to this organization if given the opportunity."
Positive Coming Out Of Being UndraftedDavis' journey to the Redskins began in Laurel, Miss., where he was a two-way standout who lead his school to a state title in 2007.
Following high school, Davis attended Jones County Community College in Ellisville, Miss., for his freshman year before transferring to Memphis for his sophomore season.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound safety would produce three quality seasons before his graduation.
Eventually going unclaimed in the 2013 NFL Draft, Davis joined the Seattle Seahawks for rookie minicamp, but was not on any roster during the regular season.
Now with the Redskins, Davis said the entire process has greatly benefitted him.
"It's helped me a whole lot and made the transition easier because I'm conditioned," he explained. "I'm used to it and I know what to expect when I get rejected, I know what to expect when I do something good – I never get too high on myself, I never get too low on myself – and I just get ready for the next play.
"After the day is gone, it's about the work that you put in that day. And a day is just like a play out here. After a play is gone, it's all about the work that you put in during that play. You can't take days off and you can't take plays off. The byproduct of that is always winning."
Gaining Knowledge From Another Undrafted Player12 years ago, another Washington Redskin was going through a similar stage in his career – Ryan Clark.
Undrafted after a stellar career at LSU, Clark would sign with the New York Giants in 2002.
The rest is history.
The 2011 Pro Bowler has 827 career tackles and 15 interceptions during his 12-year NFL career, as well as a Super Bowl ring earned with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For a guy like Davis, learning from Clark is an incredible opportunity to understand how an undrafted guy can stick in the NFL.
"Ryan has been truly awesome," Davis said. "That guy is advertised. He's not a respecter, he just treats everybody the same and he'll let you know 'Hey man, look. If you want to stick around you need to make sure you're doing this. If you want to stick around you need to make sure that you don't do that.'"
Five W's And One H
Who did you idolize growing up?"I've got a litany of people I idolized growing up. First of all, I am a guy of faith so I try to model Jesus. But also my dad – he's a guy who lived by lead by example – and my granddad. As far as football, it has to be Brian Dawkins. That's a guy who I try to model my game after."
What is it like being born on December 25th?"It's a funny story. My mother wants to name me Jesus, but she couldn't name me Jesus so she named me Corinthian which is my first name. It's a special day for me. I'm a family guy as well, so I like to spend a lot of time with my family on that day and sit back, relax and take in all of the blessings. I get two gifts, so that's always nice."
Where is the best place to go in Memphis?"I'd have to say that if you're making a stop in Memphis, you have to stop by Ching's Hot Wings."
When did you start playing football?"I started playing football at the age of eight. I got out there and my dad threw me in the fire and I've been burring ever since. In my first game, it was the last play of the game and we were up a touchdown and they threw a bomb on the sideline, and the guy caught it. I was running – I was playing deep safety – and I made the final tackle to win the game."
Why did you decided to add a Masters in Liberal Studies to your undergraduate degree in Business Administration? *"My dream job is to be an athletic director and I just wanted to get an overall education and be able to do the finances and handle the business side. In that field, you've got to be able to think critically. You've got to be able to understand concepts, you've got to be able to understand people in a leadership position of such, and I think that is a good profession to pursue." *
How awesome was the feeling when your daughter Carsyn was born?(Note: Carsyn was born on Aug. 1.)
"As rich as our English vocabulary is, I can't find the words to describe that feeling."