July 7, 2022

NCAA Champ Davis Set for Pro Debut in Battle of Alberta

Until recently, Ben Davis hadn’t heard of the Battle of Alberta.

But that doesn’t mean the newest Edmonton Elks defensive lineman doesn’t know all about it. Because he’s already experienced it. Just by a different name: The Iron Bowl.

While playing college football for the Crimson Tide at the University of Alabama, Davis twice suited up for the historic college football clash which pits his alma matter against its fiercest rivals, Auburn University’s Tigers.

Now Davis is set to dress for his first game as a professional football player on Thursday when the Elks host the Calgary Stampeders at Commonwealth Stadium in the latest contest of Canada’s greatest rivalry.

“I’ve been hearing all week about the Battle of Alberta,” says Davis, 24. “They’re coming in here, we’re at home, it’s going to be loud, but you really can’t tune in on that, you’ve got to do your assignment, you’ve just got to make sure you do one play at a time and at then at the end we’ll see what happens on the scoreboard.”

Rivalry Games

Dating back nearly 130 years, the Iron Bowl divides loyalties to the ‘Tide or the Tigers across the state of Alabama, not unlike how the Battle of Alberta has polarized the province since the Green and Gold first met the Stamps in 1949. It’s the one game that excites even the most casual observers, and the only game that matters to diehard fans, even if every other date on the schedule is a loss.

No one can appreciate the intensity that comes form a gridiron rivalry better than Davis, who’s been around and in it his entire life. The son of Crimson Tide legend Wayne Davis, Alabama’s all-time tackers leader, Davis was born and raised in Gordo, Ala., just 40 kilometres from the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa. He grew up rooting for the Crimson Tide and gave his commitment to coach Nick Saban in 2016, choosing Alabama over a number of powerhouse programs, including Auburn.

Courtesy University of Alabama.

The six-foot-four Davis spent five years, including one redshirt season, at the University of Alabama, suiting up for 24 games, recording seven tackles and one sack. He was part of two national championship teams, in 2017 and 2020, and is accustomed to keeping cool when emotions are running highest.

“I always just pride myself on working hard and knowing my assignment and always having effort and physicality at the ball,” Davis says. “Coach Saban really instilled that in me coming through on championship teams, and always having that background and that base, if you just take care of those things, then you’ll be successful.”

Texas Transfer

Davis transferred to the University of Texas for his final season of eligibility, in 2021. He played 11 games with the Longhorns, registering career highs of 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks. After spending time in training camp with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the 24-year-old signed with Edmonton on June 21. Now he joins the herd with a rapidly improving Elks team that is coming off its first win of the season and looking to hand the Stamps their first defeat of 2022.

“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling confident, I’m just excited for the opportunity,” says Davis. “I’ve been working hard in practice, learning my assignments, so I’m ready to just get after it.”

Be there when the Elks take on the Stampeders in the latest edition of the Battle of Alberta, July 7 with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium. Click here to get your tickets.