Nate Davis's 'Learning Disability' Is One Of His Strengths

Glenn Franco Simmons@fotodifrancoAnalyst IJuly 26, 2009

SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 01:  Quarterback Nate Davis #7 of the San Francisco 49ers throws the ball during the 49ers Minicamp at their training facilities on May 1, 2009 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

I've seen a range of commentary that ranges from bizarre to pedestrian to stereotypical with the signing of Nate Davis by the 49ers. Some border on prejudicial.

Even though he has yet to take to play in an NFL game, Davis exemplifies character in a sport when character is more important ever.

Davis has already shown an ability to be successful at each stage of his football career.

And that's no mistake, nor is it luck, or the result of slick publicity.

This kid is the real deal.

Starting as a Ball State freshman speaks not only to Davis' physical skills, but it also shows that he has a maturity not always typical of star players.

While some fans and professional writers voice concern over Davis declaring for the NFL draft as a junior, I see his decision as a wise move.

It allows him a few years to learn the NFL game.

The 49ers were also wise in choosing him.

If he develops, Davis may surprise naysayers and become an extremely good NFL quarterback.

I would be surprised if he remained a backup, but this young man has a few years to develop.

The 49ers know how important it is to develop quarterbacks.

The franchise also knows how important backups were to its glory years.

Fans, as well as fan and professional writers, often overlook the key contributions of backups during the Joe Montana and Steve Young eras.

While Young could have been a starter when he was a backup, that's not a necessary ingredient for a backup.

Competence and ball control are the ingredients.

With that comes preparation. That is something Davis has had success, and struggles, with.

His team's loss in the Mid-American Conference championship to Buffalo was sobering.

However, Davis made no excuses.

In the aftermath, he noted that games are not only lost on the game-day field.

They are also lost on the practice field.

In team meetings.

In individual preparation.

In mindset; a singleness of purpose; focus.

If all pre-game variables are not operating in unison, the breakdown will be apparent.

Loss is likely.

Clearly, Davis did not lose the game against Buffalo.

It's a team win or loss.

The officials don't lose it for you.

You cannot help but wonder if Ball State may have been a bit overconfident with a 12-0 record and nearly everyone believing they would go 13-0.

Davis said the team should have prepared better and he included himself.

Unlike many Ball State fans and some sports writers who blamed officials' poor calls, this young man shouldered the responsibility.

That's character.

Davis has unfairly received criticism because of a so-called learning disability because he has noted that he is a visual learner.

Well, he is on a team where Montana spoke of the necessity of visualization, and the importance it played in his success.

In the right environment, which the 'Niners have with Jed York and Mike Singletary, Davis could excel.

If I were able to talk to him, I would tell him to view his "disability" as a strength.

The X's and O's will come.

If you doubt this young man, who once thought of not attending college because of his non-mainstream way of learning, check out this quote from USA Today in December:

"I came to Ball State {on a recruiting trip}, and the first thing they took me to was the academic part. "They showed me that I really had a chance to make it through college."

Academics was foremost on his mind.



Nate Charles Davis.


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