By Charles Prince

The North Jefferson News

GARDENDALE — The lure of a winning tradition can be strong on any athlete. The winning tradition of the University of North Alabama football program includes 13 playoff appearances since 1980. Three times—1993, 1994 and 1995 the Lions won the NCAA Division II football national championship.

The Lions football tradition was just too much for Gardendale High’s Zac Davis to pass up. On Wednesday, Davis put his name on the dotted line of a football scholarship with UNA, in hopes of sharing in more playoff appearances with the Lions.

“The main reasons I chose UNA is they have a great program and when I’m up there on campus, It feels like home,” Davis said. “The winning tradition they have was a big factor. I wanted to be part of it.”

Davis, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 270 pounds, anchored the Gardendale offensive line last season from his guard position.

During his sophomore season, he started a few games at tackle and tight end, but then in his junior season he started from the opening game at tackle, before moving to guard last fall.

Davis switch to guard didn’t diminish his productivity as he was named to the All-North Jefferson first team and won the The North Jefferson News Lineman of the Year award.

After playing well as a junior, Davis was contacted by UNA during the summer break from school. The Lion’s coaches invited him to the school’s camp for lineman.

Once there, Davis went through the three days of workouts and drills and begin thinking of playing at the Florence-based school.

Letters from UNA coaches followed on a regular basis, until January, when Davis was invited for an official visit to the campus.

Davis took his visit on Jan. 24 and on the following day, the Lions offered him a scholarship.

According to the Lion’s coaching staff, Davis doesn’t have to sit and learn in the fall of 2008, he can get on the field if he applies himself.

“The coaches told me if I get out there and work hard from the first day of practice, I’ll have a good chance to play as a freshman,” Davis said. “But they told me if I get out there and horse around, they’ll go ahead and redshirt me next year. I don’t want that. I’m planning on working hard and giving it my all.”

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