Sports column: Marketing pays off for Warren Central's Beau Davis
Published Sunday, February 11, 2024 at 11am
Bo Davis has done everything he could to earn a college football scholarship the last few years.
He trained in the offseason. He played well on the field. He went on a summer college camp tour and contacted coaches. None seemed to be gaining momentum, so he changed his tactics.
The Warren Central offensive lineman has started to promote himself. He smothered the attention of coaches, covered social media with outlandish posts, and capped it all off by announcing his commitment to Waffle House.
It was a fun, 21st century approach to recruiting that got the response he expected. On Wednesday, the All-State center signed with the University of Mississippi.
“I realized that in order to get hired, I had to stand out a little bit,” Davis said. “I'm always talking to coaches on Twitter and Facebook and trying to get them to notice me a little bit. I'm a smaller center. I don't get a lot of attention. MC coaches… , told me that he loved me for that.”
For high school soccer players, having a strong social media game has become almost as important as on-field skills. Thousands of players across the country use his Twitter/X to post their own highlights, and hundreds of experienced college players are bouncing back and forth through the NCAA transfer portal, leading to actual scholarship offers. Not only that, but the competition for attention is fierce.
“It's really important because you're trying to get into college. It's more difficult for high school athletes because there's a transfer portal and players are coming in all the time,” Davis said. “I felt like I had to stand out in some way. When I was doing that, I felt like I was missing out.”
Davis took it a step further with what amounted to his own viral ad campaign. He launched a website, thebeaudavis.com, to document his accomplishments not only in soccer, but also in the classroom and community service. Testimonials from coaches and teachers were included, much like product recommendations.
He also showed some low-key humor, such as a post in which he attended a school dance wearing a flashy red tuxedo and cowboy hat. Posing in front of his Dodge Challenger, he looked like he was starring in a low-budget commercial for a used car dealership. Other posts had the feel of advertisements promoting the services of lawyers and insurance agents in suits and thousand-watt smiles.
In late January, Davis began teasing the grand finale of his journey. He promised a “hat ceremony” at Waffle House where players would reveal their school caps and announce their college choices.
“Just different. O-linemen love to eat, and one of the places they like to eat is Waffle House,” Davis said. “I said, let's go ahead and do this. A lot of people were talking about it, so I said, let's go ahead and do this.”
— Beau Davis (@beaumdavis50) February 5, 2024
On Monday morning, he did so. Bo and his father, Warren Central public address announcer Brandon Davis, headed to Waffle House on East Clay Street to videotape the “ceremony.”
In a one-minute video posted to Twitter/X, Davis endorsed patty melts with double hash browns. When the food ran out, a University of Mississippi baseball cap slipped into the frame above the empty plate. A short segment outside the restaurant ended the booking video.
He said the entire production drew confused looks from employees and other customers.
“They had no idea what was going on,” he said with a laugh. “It was fun though.”
Davis, who has won a college scholarship, hopes to cash in on a lucrative deal for his name, image and likeness. His first target is obvious.
“Maybe I'll get you a Waffle House shirt or something,” he joked.
His father would want that too. A few All-Star Special breakfasts could recoup the cost of promoting his son to All-Star status.
“I hope so. That commitment ceremony cost $30,” Brandon Davis said with a laugh.
Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of the Vicksburg Post. Contact him at email@example.com.