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.