If you think Ashtyn Davis’ road to football stardom in the Pac-12 was full of rough patches, you should hear what the third-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft goes through each day in his blossoming career with the New York Jets.
If the unassuming Davis really is on his way to stardom, then he’s getting there on two wheels.
NFL fans are learning who New York Jets safety Ashtyn Davis is
Only New York Jets fans and hardcore NFL observers knew about Ashtyn Davis before Nov. 9, 2020. That was the night that Davis got flagged for unnecessary roughness for a hit on Cam Newton. The penalty wiped out a second-quarter sack, and the hit left the New England Patriots quarterback with a sore neck.
Newton didn’t fault Davis, but the question was whether the NFL office would feel the same way given the way the league protects quarterbacks. The answer was affirmative; Davis learned during the week that he would not be fined for the play.
The game was the rookie safety’s best of the season. He registered five tackles and one defended pass in his third career start as a pro. He was pressed into full-time service following the shoulder injury to Bradley McDougald, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to envision him back on the bench even when McDougald is back to full speed.
It’s possible the New York Jets could even give Davis some series at cornerback to keep him on the field. He has nine solo stops and three assisted tackles in his three starts.
“As I get more defensive reps and get more comfortable back there, things are definitely slowing down,” he said. “I think it’s more so about the nerves for me. It’s the same game I’ve been playing, and I’m starting to realize that and get comfortable back there.”
It was an unconventional road to the NFL
Ashtyn Davis grew up in Santa Cruz, California, where he played wide receiver on the football team and ran for the track team. Although he didn’t attract the attention of college football coaches, Davis did get looks from some schools for track. He ended up walking on at Cal-Berkeley, where he also wrangled a spot on the football roster via a tryout in the spring of his freshman year.
Davis made 56 tackles as four interceptions as a redshirt junior to earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors and start drawing interest from NFL teams. His size – 6-foot-1, 200 pounds – wasn’t considered optimal, but Davis averaged better than 26 yards per kickoff return.
He made another 55 tackles and two interceptions as a senior, then closed out his collegiate career as the conference track and field champion in the 110-meter high hurdles.
The New York Jets drafted Davis in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft and signed him to a four-year contract valued at $4.9 million, including a signing bonus of $1,136,280.
Ashtyn Davis rides his bike to work
Ashtyn Davis may have picked up more than $1 million as a signing bonus, but he didn’t blow it on a fancy ride. In fact, he doesn’t own any sort of car. Davis told reporters on Thursday that his primary modes of transportation are his bicycle and his legs.
That may have worked well most days in Santa Cruz, California, and during his first couple of months in New Jersey. However, the weather always eventually turns at least as bad as the New York Jets’ record, which means some frosty morning rides to the training facility. He had one such day this week when the temperature dipped to 23 degrees.
“I was fine,” Davis said. “I got my snow jacket and gloves. It was only about a 10-minute ride.”
He’ll probably reconsider once the snow starts falling and sticking to the ground, but Davis will continue to ride solo for now.
“The biking thing has been good for me to stay focused and stay humble,” he said.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.