Davis Carried the Mail for the Wildcats

Ed. note: This profile first appeared in the Kansas State Official Sports Report on Sept. 9, 2009. To subscribe to the Kansas State Official Sports Report, visit www.officialsportsreport.com.

by Mark Janssen, Senior Writer, Kansas State Official Sports Report

MANHATTAN, Kan. - This comes from the 1967 Kansas State Media Guide. The words give definition to the talents of the 6-foot-3, 206-pound junior Cornelius Davis, or, "Corny" to the Wildcat Nation.

"A great one. Big, strong, tough and fast. A money back."

Davis was coming off a 1,028-yard sophomore season in 1966, making the St. Louis product the first Wildcat 1,000-yard single season rusher in the history of the school.

In the first 113 years of K-State football, Davis' numbers still rank high on the all-time charts:

  • No. 9 in career rushing yardage with 1,873
  • No. 8 in fastest to 1,000 yards in a single season at 10 games
  • No. 6 in 100-yard rushing games in one year with five
  • No. 9 in all-time rushing TDs with 20
    His game of 161 rushing yards against Army in 1966 still stands as the highest yardage ever in a debut game as a Wildcat.

Not bad in itself, but also consider this. Davis was pretty much a solo act in winning the 1966 Big 8 rushing title on a team that went 0-9-1, and a team that scored a total of nine touchdowns all season. Davis had six of those.

On September 5, Davis, now retired in St. Louis after a career in the postal service, was one of the 300-plus former Wildcats to return for the "Family Reunion" weekend where Official Sports Report caught up with him.

Official Sports Report: What are your thoughts now that you're back on campus?

Corny Davis: This is a place I loved. I loved the school and I loved playing football here. There's still a pride in my heart when I hear the K-State name.

OSR: Out of St. Louis, how did you arrive at K-State?

Davis: John Kadlec recruited me. He convinced me that Kansas State had a place for me. Other schools told me they thought they could fit me in, but he said Kansas State had a place for me.

OSR: What was the highlight of your career at K-State?

Davis: Being the first to 1,000 yards is still pretty special to me. Very special.

OSR: What was your game all about?

Davis: I wasn't a slasher or a burner, but I was a hard runner.

OSR: You came under coach Doug Weaver, but then Vince Gibson arrived your junior season. Was that a big difference?

Davis: (Chuckling) Oh yes. Gibson was really rough. It was a completely different atmosphere that a lot of people had to get used to, but many could not. Only the tough survived. It was the beginning to some pretty good teams.  But some just couldn't survive what he put us through.

OSR: Back to your game. By Big 8 standards, just how good were you?

Davis: Gale Sayers came just before me and I certainly don't put myself in that category, but I was pretty good. As a team, we had some pretty good players, but we just didn't have as many athletes as some of the other teams.