(NFL Player & Philanthropist)
Founder of Devoted Dreamers Foundation, Inc., Demario Davis is currently a linebacker for the New Orleans Saints. Demario signed with the Saints in the 2018-2019 NFL offseason.
Demario was born in Collins, Mississippi on January 11, 1989. While attending Brandon High School Demario was a three-sport athlete, excelling in football, basketball and track. As a sophomore and junior, Demario mostly played wide receiver until converting to linebacker in his senior year. Demario excelled at the linebacker position as a high school senior, recording 81 tackles, six interceptions, and once sack. Because of his success in his senior year of high school playing football, Demario was selected to the Sun Belt First Team All-State team and was named to the Clarion Ledger All-Metro team.
Demario played college football for the Arkansas State Red Wolves from 2008-2011. In his junior year, Demario had 63 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and two interceptions. In his senior year at Arkansas State, Demario had 69 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, three sacks and one interception. During his senior year. Demario was selected to be a member of the 2011 Rotary Lombardi Award watch list, as well as the College Football Performance Awards National Linebacker of the Year watch list.
In the 2012 NFL Draft, Demario was selected by the New York Jets in the 3rd Round (Pick 77). Demario continued his career with the Jets from 2012-2015, being a pivotal piece of the Jets defense under Head Coach Rex Ryan. Starting all seasons at linebacker following his rookie season, Demario found that his greatest on the field success took place in the 2014 season, in which he had 116 total tackles, 3.5 sacks and five passes deflected. For the 2016 NFL season, Demario signed with the Cleveland Browns.
In his one season as a Brown, Demario started 15 of 16 games at linebacker. Demario finished the season with 99 total tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and two passed deflected. After his small stint with the Browns, Demario was traded to New York Jets for his second stay with the team.
During his 2017 NFL season he started as linebacker for all 16 games for the Jets. In this season, Demario had his best statistical season yet as an NFL pro. Demario finished the season with 135 total tackles (6th in the NFL), 5 sacks, and three passes deflected. Pro Football Focus gave Demario an overall grad of 87.3.
Becoming an unrestricted free agent in in 2018, Demario was considered to the be the top linebacker in free agency based off his previous career best season with the Jets. The New Orleans Saints made the call, as Demario was signed to a three-year, $24 million dollar contract with $16 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $9.20 million.
Demario has always been a very talented athlete and has excelled in academia. However in his teenage years, lack of good judgement and poor decision making almost derailed his career before it even started. Growing up in impoverished environments led a young Demario to drugs, alcohol, gangs, violence and eventually jail.
In 2008, while a student at Arkansas State University was led into a relationship with Jesus Christ by his team Chaplin. As the transformations happened in his heart, his life was transformed as well. He soon after realized that he had a heart to reach his fellow teammates and the Next Generation of leaders for the kingdom of God. He wanted to impact generations, the way that he was impacted through the gospel.
Demario Davis founded the Devoted Dreamers Foundation in mid-2018, utilizing a Fiscal Sponsorship with the Players Philanthropy Fund. The Devoted Dreamers Foundation was created to equip the Next Generation of Leaders (entertainers, athletes, politicians, doctors, lawyers, etc.) with the tools to be successful spiritually, mentally and physically.
The Devoted Dreamers Foundation came from the concept of Demario's Devoted Dreamers Project, which he has been orchestrating since becoming an NFL pro in 2012. In a nation where inner city kids are just as likely to end up in jail as they are college, the Project has created a number of initiatives aimed at connecting the young men and women of the future to the resources needed to make their biggest dreams a reality.
Not only has Demario funded five straight 7v7 Elite football teams, he also has held football camps since becoming an NFL pro. Hosted by USA Football, Demario's most recent football camp, one focused on FUNdamentals, was on June 29, 2018. The camp was based on USA Football's Player Progression Development Model, ensuring children are learning in an age-appropriate manner and creating an ideal atmosphere for fun! Davis' football camps are like no other, as they include reading programs, heavily focus on education and character building programs.
"I didn’t want to host just regular football camp, I wanted to be able to offer something to the kids that are falling through the cracks,” he said. “I remember coming up, there were some many of my friends and teammates who I rolled with, who are just as talented or more talented than me, but they fell through the cracks because of missed education opportunities, because they had the wrong attitude, or just how things unfolded int their life. I want to be able to be a mentor to kids to keep them from falling through the cracks."
- Demario Davis
via NFL Player Engagement Article by Lisa Zimmerman
(Mother, Speaker, Writer & Life Coach)
Tamela Gill Davis is the wife of Demario Davis. Tamela helped established the Devoted Dreamers Foundation alongside her husband. Tamela has been and still is very heavily involved with the Devoted Dreamers Project since its inception.
Tamela is a homeschool mom of four, a writer, speaker, and a certified Life Coach. She is passionate about education, ministry for women, as well as marriage. Mrs. Davis created a scholarship in her name at Rust College and was nominated by the NAACP as a young alumnus of the year. These amazing accomplishments further confirm her passion for education and the development of the next generation. If Tamela is not home educating her children, writing or coaching, she is often traveling to speak at women's conference and marriage seminars.
Tamela and Demario were married in 2012 and have 4 children- Bailey Grace, Roman Parker, Summer Joy, and their newest addition Carly Faith. Like her husband, Tamela has a heart and passion for ministry and equipping the Next Generation this being confirmed through her support, involvement and pursuit for developing and equipping the Next Generation.