Over 1 million boys play high school football every year. About
6.5% of them become collegiate players. Of those who play in
college, only 1.5% reach the NFL. How daunting were those odds for
Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis-a two-time Pro Bowl
selection now entering his ninth NFL season? A native of Washington
D.C., Vontae endured many hardships and challenges as his parents
battled drug addiction. When he was 11 years old, Vontae and his
siblings were going to be placed in separate foster homes by Child
Protective Services, but his grandmother Adaline refused to let
them be split up-adopting and raising all seven of them together.
As a housekeeper, Adaline and her husband could barely provide for
the kids financially but they instilled important values in them.
Adaline provided unconditional love and timely morsels of wisdom
through her firm but faithful approach. With some guidance from his
older brother Vernon-one of the most highly sought-after college
recruits and a two-time Pro Bowl tight end-Vontae earned a football
scholarship to the University of Illinois. After three years as a
starter in Champaign, Illinois, he entered the NFL Draft and was
the 25th overall selection in the first round. The Middle School
Rules of Vontae Davis will feature Vontae's defining childhood
stories and lessons learned while growing up in a D.C. neighborhood
teeming with drugs and gangs. Young readers will see how Vontae
thrived with the support of coaches, teachers, teammates, friends,
and relatives-none more important than his grandmother. Vontae
Davis was named an NFL Players Association Community MVP during the
2015 season. He works with the Department of Child Services, the
Children's Bureau, and Hands of Hope, an organization focused on
aiding orphans through adoption and foster care.
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