CHICAGO — Senior defensive lineman Khalil Davis was a bit of a surprise pick to represent Nebraska at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. Not because he didn’t deserve the honor, but more because it meant he’d leave his twin Carlos—and all of the defensive linemen he typically handles interviews with—behind in Lincoln.
“I didn’t think I would be here doing this,” Davis said Thursday during his individual time at the podium. “Coach [Scott] Frost asked which one of us, me or Carlos, wanted to go and Carlos told me to go. I thought he might say, ‘Nah, I want to go.’”
But Carlos didn’t. Before Khalil could say anything, the decision was made. Khalil was Chicago-bound. He was thrilled by the opportunity.
“Of course [I wanted to attend],” Khalil said. “I wanted to represent my team and the defense on a stage like this.”
There was a lot of talk about “earning” things for Nebraska on Thursday. Frost discussed the Huskers need to still earn the hype in the Big Ten and beyond. Quarterback Adrian Martinez talked about earning his teammates’ trust as a leader over the last year.
For Khalil, he earned the right to represent Nebraska and the defensive line at Big Ten Media Days. Carlos saw more playing time, logging nine starts over the season, but Khalil held his own. While he didn’t start, he played in all 12 games last season and led the defensive line with eight tackles for loss and was second in sacks with 3.0. Khalil also had four quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. And by the end of it all, he out-tackled his brother 41 to 27.
On Thursday, Khalil spent his time with the media discussing his personality on the team—“People off the field [think] I’m a teddy bear, but on the field they don’t really like me.”—and Nebraska’s potential in 2019. He talked about his goals and the Huskers taking every game one at a time.
Khalil handled his time in the spotlight with grace and a little humor, proving he can handle the spotlight on his own. Although, that isn’t much of a surprise for the senior.
“[Carlos and I] don’t need to be together all the time,” Khalil laughed. “When we’re at home, he probably stays in his room 80% of the time and he doesn’t get up if he needs to talk to me. He’ll just text me. We don’t even see each other until we have to go to workouts or something. A lot of people don’t know that he has a girlfriend so he spends weeks away sometimes and I have a girlfriend so they keep us away from each other.”
When it comes to the defensive line, it is a little weird for Khalil to be without them. Even when he speaks to the media post-practice and post-game, he typically has a few defensive linemen surrounding him in support.
“It makes me miss them more but it’s good to be here and represent for them,” Khalil said. “They’re probably texting me right now saying, ‘Don’t do this, stop doing that.’ It’s good to be here representing for them and the team.”
And it would have never happened if a twin hadn’t decided to let his brother have the moment in the spotlight. It’s something Khalil will never forget.
“That’s really awesome of [Carlos] and it’s cool that Frost felt one of us should be here,” Khalil said. “We put in five years here and it’s been a wonderful time here and I love Nebraska.”
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.