CLEMSON, S.C. — Former Clemson All-ACC defensive back Dexter Davis has been named the recipient of the 2022 Brian Dawkins Lifetime Achievement Award. Since 2013, Dabo Swinney has presented the honor to a former Clemson player who has consistently demonstrated the qualities of leadership, community service and other high qualities that are consistent with excellence since graduating from the Clemson program.
Recipients must be out of school at least 10 years to qualify. Dawkins, who played 16 years in the NFL and was named to nine Pro Bowls and was a finalist for many public service awards, was the first recipient.
Davis was a starter on Clemson’s great defenses between 1988-90 when the Tigers had a 10-2 record and finished in the top 12 of the final AP poll each year. The 1988 team won the ACC Championship, as Davis became the first Clemson true freshman to start at cornerback under Danny Ford. A first-team Freshman All-American by Sporting News, Davis had 36 tackles and 11 passes broken up that year. His final pass deflection of the year was a game-saver in the end zone that clinched Clemson’s 13-6 win over Oklahoma in the Citrus Bowl.
In 1989, Davis started all 12 games and was named second-team All-ACC by UPI. He accumulated 55 total tackles to go with 16 passes broken up and three interceptions. As a junior in 1990, he had a career-high 85 tackles, led the ACC with six interceptions and finished with 15 total passes broken up.
Clemson’s 1990 defense was the first in school history to lead the nation in total defense. Davis scored two touchdowns from his cornerback position that year, one on a 52-yard fumble return at NC State and one on a 30-yard interception return against North Carolina.
The native of Sumter, S.C. decided to turn professional after his junior year and was a fourth-round draft choice by the Phoenix Cardinals in the 1991 NFL Draft. He played 59 games over six years for Cardinals and the Rams.
At the conclusion of his playing career, Davis began a coaching career as an assistant at Morgan State on the staff of his good friend Stump Mitchell. He finished his degree requirements while serving as the defensive backs coach. One of his players at Morgan State was Daronte Jones, who served as LSU’s defensive coordinator during the 2021 season.
Davis went into high school coaching in the state of South Carolina at Battery Creek High School in Charleston, S.C. He later started the program at Southside Christian in Greenville, S.C. Between 2005-07, at the urging of his former coach and NFL legend Jim Johnson, Davis coached in NFL Europe for the Hamburg Sea Devils. Davis prided himself in the development of undersized cornerback Brent Grimes, who later became an All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection.
Davis is currently the President and CEO of Eagle Universal Services, a company that provides unique engineering and construction contracting services. The company’s customers include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marines, the NFL and Bank of America.
Davis has been a long-time member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has worked with Atlanta-based programs at Georgia State, Morris Brown and Morehouse. He also has worked for the Atlanta Falcons as a “character coach” and has been director of football ministries in Brazil, Hungary and East Africa. He serves on the board of the Kenya Project, serving students in East Africa. He also serves as the Vice Chairman of the Liberty Street STEAM Charter School in Sumter, S.C.
Davis was named to the city of Sumter (S.C.) Hall of Fame and the Sumter High School Hall of Fame. In 1996, he was named to the Clemson Centennial Football team.
Davis and his wife, LaShea, have four children: Breci (a Clemson graduate), Shye, D.J. and Micah, who just finished his sophomore year at the United States Air Force Academy as a football student-athlete.
Brian Dawkins Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients2013: Brian Dawkins, 1992-952014: Bill Smith, 1977-812015: Warren Forney, 1991-952016: Jerry Butler, 1975-782017: Jeff Davis, 1978-812018: Mark Richardson, 1979-822019: Michael Allen, 1995-982020: Michael Dean Perry, 1984-872021: Carl Martin, 1979-822022: Dexter Davis, 1988-90