DESOTO, Texas — Former BYU receiver Margin Hooks did a lot for BYU during his playing days, and it appears he’s still giving.
Hooks played an integral role in helping secure the commitment of BYU’s latest prospect, Akile Davis.
Davis, a 6-foot-2, 188-pound receiver from DeSoto High School, committed to Cougar coaches on Monday, shortly after a phone conversation with Hooks that helped change his entire perspective of BYU.
“He let me know how it really was,” Davis related. “I mean, I had a bunch of thoughts about what I thought BYU was like, but I really didn’t know. Margin Hooks really helped change my whole perspective of the school and the program to the point where I really wanted to commit there.”
Cougar coaches first contacted Davis this past spring. Receivers coach Guy Holliday was his primary contact, but even though Holliday expressed a lot of interest, that interest wasn’t exactly reciprocated.
“I just didn’t know anything other than what I was told about BYU, and what I was told made BYU seem like a place I wouldn’t like,” Davis said.
Regardless of his preconceived notions, Holliday continued pursuing the non-LDS prospect and grew to form a strong relationship with him, according to Davis.
Other schools pursued Davis as well, making BYU’s chances seem remote at best up until his commitment. In recent articles with both rivals.com and scout.com, he gave strong indication that BYU was almost completely out of the picture.
“I had pretty much decided it was going to be between Indiana and San Diego State before I got that call,” Davis said.
Hooks was contacted by the Cougar coaching staff after Davis flat out told them his concern of not fitting in at BYU as a non-LDS minority athlete. Cougar coaches, in turn, contacted the former BYU great, asking him to share his own experiences in Provo as a minority athlete.
“Like I said, that conversation changed everything for me,” Davis said. “Margin let me know BYU was a place with wonderful facilities and full of great people who really care about your well-being and your growth both spiritually and academically. It was a really great conversation.”
Academics is a big thing for Davis, who plans to major in education and hopes to coach football following his playing days.
“Coach Holliday always stressed that if I got a degree at BYU, I’d be set for life,” Davis said. “I’ve done my own research, and it’s obvious BYU is a top school. So that’s a big thing for me as well. Getting that education, and being set for life with a degree — that’s huge.”
Davis has yet to set foot on BYU’s campus, but believes he knows enough about the program and the school to make an informed decision.
“What separated BYU from the other schools recruiting me were the coaches,” Davis said. “Coach Holliday especially is someone I trust completely and someone I feel very comfortable with. I’ve just formed a great relationship with him and want to play for him at the next level.”
Davis, who cites a 4.54 40-yard time, held as many as 10 offers from such schools as Indiana, North Texas, San Diego State and Toledo at the time of his commitment.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @BrandonCGurney
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company