Note: The following appears in the Georgia Southern gameday football program
The Clemson Family is a powerful expression that runs deep for many. For graduate linebacker J.D. Davis, the Clemson Family is very real. Davis plays on the Tiger football team with his twin brother, Judah, and they are a part of a family legacy at Clemson, as their father, Jeff, also played linebacker for the Tigers during his college career.
For the younger Davis, following in his father’s footsteps to continue a family tradition was a major reason for choosing Clemson.
“I chose to come to Clemson because this is where my dad played. He had so much success here. My mom came here…it’s where he met her. Three of my four sisters came here, so I wanted to continue the family tradition and try to add on to my dad’s legacy as well as create one of my own at his alma mater.”
Not only does Davis get to continue the family tradition at Clemson, he gets to do so alongside his twin brother, something he thoroughly enjoys.
“We’ve been doing that our whole lives,” remarked a smiling Davis. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s cool to have someone who knows you so well on the team, to help pick you up when you’re down.”
It makes sense that J.D., would love playing alongside his brother, as he said that they are inseparable away from the gridiron.
“Me and my brother are as close as it gets. We always say that there are three types of twins…the ones who are inseparable, the ones who you don’t even know they’re twins and the ones who balance it perfectly. And we always say that we’re the ones who you can’t separate.”
Davis enjoys the friendly competition, but they prefer to see each other succeed on the field.
They push each other to be better and pick each other up.
They also share similar interests, such as Japanese anime and playing video games. However, they have slightly different personalities. According to Davis, Judah is the more patient of the two, while J.D., is a little more hotheaded.
“I’m more willing to get in a little bit of trouble. Judah is not really that way. I don’t want to say he’s more mature, but I have the tendency to joke around a little bit more than he does.”Davis also shares a close relationship with his father, who is a former Clemson All-American and College Football Hall of Fame member. This strong relationship has had a huge impact on Davis’ career.
“No. 1, he gave us the talent, and then, No. 2, he has been there every step of the way. Whenever we have questions, he’s always there to answer. If we tell him to back off, he’ll back off.
“He’s been that guy who’s always on call for us. Even when we do something wrong and he’s there correcting us, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I know he’s been where I want to go. Anything he says, I know it will lead me to where I want to go.”
The Davis family has a unique distinction. Both J.D., and Judah were a part of the 2016 national championship team, and Jeff was a team captain on the 1981 national title squad. The Davis twins are only two of five Tigers to earn national championship rings as second-generation Tigers. To share a championship with both his brother and father is something special for J.D.
I don’t know how many people are able to say that, that not only they won a championship, but their dad did, and that they did it at the same school, and that the only time that school has ever won it all has been when someone of your bloodline has been on the team. I think that’s super special.”
Davis admitted that there is some friendly bickering between him and his father over whose championship team was better, but at the end of the day, it’s all in good fun.
“He’ll never say that we were better. He says they were undefeated, et cetera, et cetera. At the end of the day, he doesn’t really care. He’s happy we got to experience what he got to experience.”
Davis is also heavily involved with P.A.W. Journey, which focuses on athletes off the field and helping them grow as well as prepare for the future. Davis is one of the P.A.W. Journey ambassadors. The program has afforded #33 with a multitude of opportunities to grow as a young man.
“I’ve had the opportunity to go on mission trips, but instead I’ve been blessed to be able to go on two micro-internships with billion-dollar companies like Cisco Systems and Adobe, so that’s been really exciting. There are insane amounts of community service hours I’ve been able to contribute and do because of all the opportunities that P.A.W. Journey gives us. It’s given me so many opportunities to become a better man.”
In December, Davis graduated with a degree in marketing in just three years.
After his time at Clemson is over, Davis has dreams of playing in the NFL. However, if professional football doesn’t work out, Davis wants to go into the business world, perhaps returning to one of the companies he interned with.
Until then, Davis is enjoying his final season in Death Valley playing alongside his brother.