Not many knew of Menomonee Falls running back Julius Davis when he took a third-and-16 handoff against West Allis Hale last August.
Davis hurdled a defender seven yards downfield, kept his balance while spinning 360 degrees in the air, stumbled through another tackle attempt, threw three defenders off him simultaneously and outran three more for a 67-yard touchdown.
Sports Illustrated tweeted a video of the run. Hundreds of retweets and likes later, Menomonee Falls coach Dan Lutz started fielding calls from coaches of major college programs about a kid who had yet to play a full season of high school football.
"It was almost like a Marshawn Lynch-type run," Lutz said. "Once that happened, I started getting calls the next week after. To me, that's what started the whole ball rolling. And then when they started looking at the whole junior year, more and more people started jumping on the ship."
Davis committed to the University of Wisconsin's 2019 class less than three months later and has since received offers from USC, Notre Dame and LSU. He said he's also still receiving serious interest from Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida, Florida State, Iowa and Tennessee.
Davis sat out due to injury as a freshman and rushed for 700 yards in conference play after earning a chance at playing time midway through his sophomore season. Lutz anticipated a breakout year for Davis during practices last offseason, and that run against West Allis Hale sparked the beginning of a campaign in which Davis rushed for more than 1,700 yards as a junior.
"I think (the video) did have kind of a big help," Davis said. "It's not just a normal highlight. That catches their attention and makes them want to watch the rest of the tape."
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UW offered Davis during a visit to Madison for the Badgers' huge win over Michigan on Nov. 18. He fell in love with Camp Randall's atmosphere, built great relationships with the coaching staff and took note of how many great running backs the program has produced in recent years.
Despite hesitancy from his parents, Davis committed just a few days later.
"(My parents) kind of wanted me to wait a little bit," Davis said. "They wanted me to take other visits and do all that other stuff just to make sure. But I told them I knew where I wanted to go, so they supported me."
Davis always dreamed of staying in state and playing for the Badgers, but some UW fans fear he could be swayed by the flurry of major offers from USC, Notre Dame and LSU that he received in February.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound three-star prospect can't officially sign for UW until at least December. Although he noted the possibility of taking visits to other schools this year, Davis said he's still 100 percent committed to the Badgers.
"I think I'm set on Wisconsin," Davis said. "Me and my family are kind of talking about just wanting to go look at other campuses - kind of just get that experience looking at other big-time colleges. ... This doesn't happen to too many people. To be able to go experience that and see that would be really cool."