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Former No. 1 Pick in XFL Draft Will Play in USFL

On Friday, it was announced that wide receiver Rashard Davis had signed with the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits. To some, it may have looked like any other transaction, but XFL fans will likely remember this name. Davis was selected with the first overall pick in the XFL draft, which took place in October of 2019. However, he never played a snap for the team that drafted him (the DC Defenders). 

Davis originally played college football at James Madison, winning the FCS title as a senior in 2016. Through four seasons, Davis established himself as a reliable receiving option, but was also known for his contributions in the return game. During the championship run, Davis was named CAA Special Teams Player of the Year for his efforts, having led the FCS in punt return touchdowns (4). 

Davis was not selected in the 2017 NFL draft, but signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent. Despite sitting on the practice squad, he continued to carry the championship energy with his new team, as the Eagles won Super Bowl LII that year. He was released at the beginning of the 2018 season, and would later have his second practice squad stint with the Oakland Raiders. 

In 2019, Davis spent the preseason with the Kansas City Chiefs, but was released during final roster cuts. When Davis was drafted into the XFL, he was a free agent, but still wanted to explore NFL opportunities. Therefore, he made the difficult decision to pass on the XFL, instead betting on himself to try and achieve a larger dream. Three weeks later, he was picked up by the Tennessee Titans.

Davis remained with the Titans for the rest of 2019, and was elevated to the active roster for the first time that December. He re-signed in 2020, but didn’t appear in any more games. In 2021, Davis tried his shot at the CFL, joining the Saskatchewan Roughriders in September. He only appeared in two games, catching a single pass for 12 yards. 

Now, in 2022, Davis has a legitimate shot to revive his career and be a top target for quarterback Jordan Ta’amu. He was brought in as a replacement for Eli Rogers, who did not report to Bandits training camp. Ironically, Rogers played for the Defenders back in 2020, filling part of the hole that Davis left vacant in the XFL. All in all, this should be an exciting opportunity for Davis, who has been waiting patiently for another chance. 

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Football journalist/scout/future coach covering the Houston Roughnecks. Air Raid/Run-and-Shoot enthusiast.

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