Since November South Forsyth quarterback Davis Shanley has been adjusting to life as a wanted football recruit. Before his junior season he hadn’t started a varsity game, nor was he even set to be a starter.
With a slingshot for a throwing arm and dazzling, poetic footwork, he blossomed last fall, passing for 2,348 yards, 25 touchdowns and rushing for 623 yards and eight more scores.
From March to August, Shanley reeled in 13 Division I offers. On Saturday he put his recruitment to rest, committing to play for the pass-happy Western Kentucky Hilltoppers with an announcement on Twitter.
The commitment came as bit of a surprise—while Shanley made it known he made two visits to the Bowling Green, Ky., campus, he never announced that WKU extended him an offer. Southern Conference schools Mercer and Samford seemed like the frontrunners, but the truth was Shanley had been sure of where he wanted to go since June.
“It’s a beautiful campus, a great town, and the atmosphere they created up there was amazing,” Shanley said. “The football program last year was ranked, conference champions, really an amazing football team, and they have everything I’m looking for academically.”
Shanley already plans on majoring in engineering.
WKU finished last season ranked No. 24 in the final AP poll with a 12-2 record. Under head coach Jeff Brohm and his son, offensive coordinator Brian Brohm, the Hilltoppers boasted one of the nation’s most potent offenses.
Last season quarterback Brandon Doughty threw for 5,055 yards, completing 71.9 percent of his passes, for 48 touchdowns, just nine interceptions and an incredible 176.5 quarterback rating. Shanley thinks he’ll fit right into the system in time, but also committed because the staff said the offense will adapt to the skillsets of whichever quarterback starts in the future.
Overall the Hilltoppers had the fifth best offense in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
“It’s a quarterback-friendly place,” Shanley said. “They run the spread. I got a chance to talk to Brian Brohm and he was telling me how I had the ability to run and believes the offense could revolve around that, whereas last year their quarterback was more of a pocket passer.”
Even though Shanley has dozens of highlights where he’s racing past defenders he still sees himself as someone who can put a stamp on the college football world as a passer.
“I definitely developed the feet,” Shanley said. “I think it was the end of my sophomore year that I started gaining the ability to run, gaining some speed. I don’t like to label myself as a dual-threat quarterback though. I want to be a pass-first quarterback with the ability to run.”
With his commitment out of the way Shanley will turn his focus to his senior season with the War Eagles, who went 11-2 last season with wins over Norcross and Tucker in the playoffs. Even though every offensive skill player from last season must be replaced, Shanley thinks the sky is the limit.
“We have to replace a lot, but our younger guys are going to step up. They have been all summer,” Shanley said. “We are raising the bar. We have higher expectations than ever. We want to go even further than we did last season.”