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Davis Warren’s unique journey puts dreams in perspective

Warren faced a major diagnosis in high school, but he fought to achieve his dream of being starting QB for Michigan one day.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Michigan at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Davis Warren has had a wild ride to get to where he’s at now. The junior quarterback from California faced trial after trial, but his goal to play for the Michigan Wolverines never waivered.

Diagnosed with cancer in high school before the pandemic shut down the world, Warren fought tooth and nail to play the game he loves. Year in and year out he has been sharpening his skills to achieve his dream of being the starting quarterback for the Wolverines. While he hasn’t reach that point just yet, he describes his journey of patience so when his name is called, he will be ready.

Warren also joined Jon Jansen on In the Trenches this week to detail his own growth since arriving in Ann Arbor and how his hopes and dreams remain the same. From being a walk-on to making waves in the spring game, Warren noted how all the work he has put in seemingly behind the scenes has led to his success.

“I think I’m in a great spot. Every year, in different periods of the year, I feel like I have elevated myself every single time,” Warren said, “Coming in knowing no name for myself, I am in a spot now that I’m excited about. I am in a position where all my goals are in front of me. Super excited to see where I can take my game.”

Those goals before him include being the starting quarterback for the Wolverines one day. He credits J.J. McCarthy for being his motivation and mentor so when his time comes, he will be ready. Perhaps it’s having a different outlook on life after his diagnosis, but Warren hasn’t deterred from being the best he can be.

“I said when I came here I wanted to be the starting QB at Michigan. I think I have the talent and ability to do that,” he said.

He added, “Of course things that happened in my high school career didn’t go the way I wanted to, probably the exact opposite in a lot of ways. My goals are still the same — be the starting quarterback here, play at a high level, hopefully lead this team to do great things and take it to the next level. Those things haven’t changed — there were times in high school I didn’t think would happen. I am very blessed with the opportunities that I have gotten since being at Michigan. I try not to forget that every single day.”

Warren speaks with selflessness. His outlook on life changed in high school and he now seizes every opportunity. So he uses that to better himself, his team and his community.

“Perspective is the main word. I am grateful for the opportunity to get up every day to do something I love to do. I love football. I love this place and I love Michigan,” Warren said, “Seeing how lucky I got, it’s a reminder that I am super lucky and not everyone is granted the same opportunity that I am. That’s always in my head and something I am always thinking about.”

Those lessons about life, having patience and determination allowed for healthy competition. With the array of talent in the quarterback room, Warren approaches it with competitiveness, reminding himself these guys are his friends first.

“It starts with being unselfish and knowing that everyone has a role. Coach (Kirk) Campbell is super clear with that, telling us that the guy out on the field is a product is the sum of the work that everyone in this room has put in,” Warren said. “There is going to be a competition, you might not be super happy where you are at, but you are going to support the other guy and give him every opportunity to be successful. It’s good for the QB room and team and what’s good for the team is good for everyone else.”

Embracing his role last year directly led to his spring game performance. The countless hours putting in the work, while learning alongside McCarthy, led him to his moment in the Big House.

“Freshman year, I was on the scout team, me and Peyton O’Leary playing buddy ball, going against Hutch and that defense. That first proved to me that I could do it,” he said. “This past season, getting to be that two behind J.J. proved even more that I can do this. It just snowballs. I’m proving to myself every day that I belong here and that I can have a role and hopefully someday that role is that I can be the guy.”

Players like Warren and McCarthy have only tasted success. They only know what it’s like to beat Ohio State, win Big Ten championships and make the College Football Playoff. So to him, that is the standard. The years of pain are behind, he promises, and he hopes he and his class can continue a lasting legacy of success for those that come after them.

“I do know that the standards that have been set here from the team that took 2020 and turned it into a Big Ten championship in 2021. Those standards aren’t going anywhere,” he said. “They are going to be here hopefully long after we are gone. Winning is fun and losing sucks and we are doing everything we can to replicate and take ourselves to the next level.”

While the pressure of this might seem smothering, he emphasized it’s a good thing. It keeps them motivated for the upcoming season as they chase another run to the Big Ten championship and CFP.

“It’s definitely there and maybe it’s a good pressure. We are trying to replicate it. The standard is high and we are not going to let that stop,” Warren said. “There is no more pressure on the outside than what we put on ourselves. I think that is the biggest thing. The habit is doing the right thing every day. I think that will transform into wins.”