CARBONDALE — D.J. Davis, SIU's fifth all-time leading rusher, has accepted an invitation to the Hula Bowl in Hawaii, according to a tweet from Saluki Football on Friday.
Davis, a 5-foot-8, 170-pound running back from Pompano Beach, Florida, is only the second Saluki in history to accept an invitation to play in the game in Honolulu. Former running back Arkee Whitlock, a Saluki Hall of Famer, played in the 2006 event. This year's game is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 26, at Aloha Stadium and will include NCAA players from all divisions, along with international players from Japan, Canada, Australia, the UK and Polynesian players with historic ties to the islands.
Davis rushed for 1,026 yards and four touchdowns on 189 carries last season in 10 games. He missed two games after fracturing his elbow at Arkansas State in Week 4 but returned against No. 18 Youngstown State. Davis also caught 19 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, returned three punts for 11 yards and took five kickoff returns for 92 yards. SIU's all-time kickoff return yardage leader, Davis rushed for 2,697 yards and 13 scores in four years and caught 112 passes for 908 yards and seven touchdowns.
"Blessings...," Davis tweeted Friday night. "All the praise and glory to God! Salukis in Hawaii."
SIU coach Nick Hill tweeted "Unbelievable young man. Been telling the scouts all year this kid will find a way. Do coaches get to come with you?"
Davis had five 100-yard games his senior year, rushing for a season-high 194 yards on 30 carries in a win at Western Illinois. Redshirt freshman Javon Williams Jr., a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, which goes to the nation's top FCS freshman, led SIU with 1,038 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns. Williams and Davis were the first Saluki tandem to ever rush for 1,000 yards or more in the same season.
SIU went 7-5 overall and 5-3 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Saluki safety Jeremy Chinn has accepted an invitation to compete in the Senior Bowl Saturday, Jan. 25, in Mobile, Alabama.
• Salukis add defensive tackle from Monroe College: SIU signed defensive tackle Devin Love, a 6-3, 190-pound freshman out of Monroe (New York) College earlier this week. Love, a first team all-conference pick, had 38 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks for the 8-3 squad.
Love is the fifth defensive lineman in SIU's 2020 class, joining three incoming freshmen and 6-4, 250-pound sophomore defensive end Jacob Poetzl from Ellsworth (Kansas) Community College. Poetzl was an honorable mention NJCAA All-American after leading his team with 11.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
• NDSU quarterback wins Walter Payton Award: North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, the offensive player of the year and the freshman of the year in the MVFC, won the Walter Payton Award Friday night as the best offensive player in the FCS. Lance, a redshirt freshman from Marshall, Minnesota, became the first freshman to win the award and just the fourth player from NDSU to win a national player of the year award.
Lance joined Harlon Hill Trophy-winning quarterbacks Jeff Bentrim (1986) and Chris Simdorn (1990) and Buck Buchanan Award-winning defensive end Kyle Emanuel (2014). Lance attempted 278 career passes without an interception entering Saturday's national title game, breaking the school record of 152. He led the Bison to a 15-0 record in his first year as a starter and is 186 of 277 this season with 2,714 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The 2,714 pass yards and 28 touchdown passes are both school records for an NDSU freshman.