Davis Howell is a fairly off-the-radar wide receiver recruit from Knoxville, Tennessee who has yet to receive a single college scholarship offer. When you look at the senior's skinny, 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame, that lack of major conference attention may seem understandable. When you look deeper and discover the achievements Howell is racking up -- and the toughness he's showing in doing so -- the oversight of his talent and toughness is astonishing.
In Knoxville (Tenn.) Christian Academy Of Knoxville's 38-36 Class 3A state quarterfinal victory Howell caught 13 passes for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those 13 grabs pushed his career total to 333 receptions, just 16 short of an all-time national record.
Reaching number 2 on the national career receptions list is an absolutely remarkable feat in itself, yet the injury that Howell is playing through now makes the achievement all the more incredible; he caught those 13 balls while playing with a broken thumb.
As reported by MaxPreps, Howell is playing through intense pain with a broken thumb on his right hand in search of the all-time career receptions mark. He's also playing on defense, lining up at outside linebacker with a broken digit.
The fact that Howell is playing any position with a broken thumb is notable in itself, though perhaps not completely unique. That he would insist on continuing as a receiver, where his hands and broken thumb face constant impact from passes sent his way, is another thing entirely.
For his part, Howell's coach may have paid the finest tribute to his receiver's talent and toughness after his team's quarterfinal win.
"[Howell] made a couple of catches that were just unbelievable," Christian Academy of Knoxville football coach Rusty Bradley told MaxPreps. "He is the toughest kid I've ever coached. He has no [scholarship] offers right now. It's crazy.
"It probably was one of the finest games I've ever been a part of."
Of course, the win means that Howell will get at least one more game to accumulate the 16 grabs he needs to move to the top of the all-time total receptions list. If CAK wins again, he'll get two games.
Whether he gets there or not, Howell has already proven just how tough and talented he is. That in itself should be worth a scholarship somewhere.