Kevon Davenport courtesy photo

True freshman Kevon Davenport has had an unconventional path to becoming a wrestler, but he has loved every minute of it. At the age of eight, his father, Kevin Davenport, thought he wasn’t going to be tough enough or strong enough to play football in the coming years, so he signed his son up for wrestling. Kevon became the first member of his family to wrestle when he joined his hometown’s Pontiac Junior Huskies Wrestling Club, where he fell in love with the sport. 

“For me, wrestling is a place that I always felt at home,” Davenport said. 

Despite his father being a former football player, Kevon always felt supported in his journey.  

“I don’t know if influence is a big enough word to describe what my father means to me, he helped me become the person and wrestler I am today, my father molded me in his image,” Davenport said. 

Davenport attended Detroit Catholic Central High School and focused primarily on wrestling. In his freshman and sophomore years he won the state title in the 119-pound and 130-pound weight classes, respectively. 

“I’ve always been a great wrestler, but one of my most important skills is leadership, something I consider a gift of mine, I’ve always been a great leader even for those who are older than me when I was the younger guy in high school,” Davenport said.

After his sophomore year, Davenport stepped into the national wrestling spotlight following his showing at the 2017 Cadet Fargo National Championships. He came in first in Greco-Roman and runner-up in Freestyle, both at the 138-pound weight class. Davenport considers this to be the greatest accomplishment of his wrestling career to this point. 

In his junior and senior years, he wrestled at the 145-pound weight class and won two more state titles, becoming the first wrestler in Detroit Catholic Central school history to win four consecutive state titles. More significantly for Davenport, he became the first African-American in Michigan state history to win four consecutive state titles. 

Despite all of the success, Davenport’s low point of his wrestling career was in his junior year when he lost to Bryce Andonian, now wrestling at Virginia Tech. 

“Those are the losses that you remember, that keep you motivated everyday to be better than you were the day before,” he said.

Even with a few missteps along the way, Davenport ended his high school career a highly decorated wrestler and was the No. 22 overall prospect in the class of 2019, according to FloWrestling. When Davenport committed to Nebraska, he knew he had made the right choice.

“I loved the culture and environment set by [head] coach [Mark] Manning, the rest of his staff, and the program,” Davenport said. 

Since getting to the university, Davenport has learned to not be so stubborn and to become more flexible.

Since Davenport is not wrestling for the team this season, he is taking on a different role in practice, his teammate, junior Chad Red Jr. said. 

“Kevon is a hard worker and is always trying to lighten the mood at practice,” he said.

Kevon is likely to keep his redshirt for the rest of the season barring any injuries or changes of status on the team, according to Manning. 

While Davenport is still currently being redshirted for the season, he is finding his role on the team as a jokester. 

“If I see a guy who’s down, I’ll try and crack a joke, and try and make him feel better,” he said. “I always just want to bring up the mood of the team, keep people’s spirits up.”

sports@dailynebraskan.com