Coach Jasper: Davis was always going to make the most of it

Apr. 25—Football was always a love and a passion for Isaiah Davis. Even in his earliest playing days it was more than a game for him.

"I feel like I always played with a love and a passion on the football field. ... I feel like that's what separated me from other people is that passion," Davis said.

That love and passion has Davis on the verge of being an NFL athlete. Now he just waits to hear his name called this weekend during the draft.

Joplin head football coach Curtis Jasper, talked about all Davis showed him during his high school career and how he got to this point.

"I'm ecstatic for Isaiah. First of all, obviously a great player, but just such a great person," Jasper said. "Whenever you talk about, 'This is what it takes,' you could put a picture of him up and point at it. When you talk about work ethic and being coachable, being a great mentor, being a great teammate and checking all the boxes, he is the guy. There is no doubt about that."

Coaching him for four years and watching him compete in other sports those years gave Jasper an up-close look at the elite-level athlete that not everyone has had. He knew Davis had the chance to be here eventually.

"If anyone had a shot, he was always going to make the most of it. And in the end, he has," Jasper said.

Davis will always be remembered for his production on the field at JHS. But for Jasper, his representation of Joplin is about far more than the 4,000-plus rushing yards and 76 rushing touchdowns.

"For our football program, for our high school, the Joplin community as a whole, to have someone like Isaiah as a person to represent us on a national stage, we're just fortunate," Jasper said.

Jasper is going to be a part of the 75-100 fans celebrating with Davis this weekend at a bowling alley in Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday as the South Dakota State running back expects to be selected then.

The 6-foot-1 ball carrier talked about having a businesslike approach to the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine recently but admitted his business approach will probably change this weekend.

"I feel like this weekend will be a little different approach. ... I won't be around coaches or trying to make an impression on people," Davis said. "I'm probably going to get emotional. Probably going to cry. I just hope I get my name called."

Davis' large production as an Eagle helped lead the team to a Class 6 state championship game in 2019. Joplin fell to De Smet in that contest. Jasper talked about the success of that team and how it was made possible by Davis and his peers.

"We were talking about that a little bit today (Wednesday) and you look at that core with him and Blake (Tash) and Zach (Westmoreland) and how those guys were all three-sport guys and were always your hardest workers in the weight room and always led by example at practice," Jasper said. "We had a lot of success when those guys came through here because when your best players are your hardest workers they raise that level of intensity. Other players just feed off that."