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Western Michigan great Corey Davis retires from NFL after six seasons

Davis remains the FBS all-time receiving yards leader after a historic tenure in Kalamazoo.

NFL: New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Former Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis officially closed the curtain on his football career Wednesday afternoon. In an Instagram post, the New York Jets receiver discussed his decision to retire after six seasons at the age of 28.

Simply put, Corey Davis was a MAC football legend. In four seasons at Western Michigan, Davis posted totals of 332 receptions, 5,285 receiving yards, and 52 touchdowns. In the 2016 regular season finale against Toledo, Davis surpassed former Nevada wide receiver Trevor Insley to become the FBS all-time receiving yards leader — a designation which he still holds to this day. He additionally ranks fourth all-time in receptions and second in receiving touchdowns as the only receiver to appear in the top five of all three major categories.

Davis accumulated at least 1,400 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons in Kalamazoo, displaying remarkable consistency throughout a legendary tenure. His senior campaign in 2016 featured career-highs of 97 receptions, 1,500 yards, and 19 touchdowns. As a result of his statistical achievements, Davis was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American — the first and only in Western Michigan history.

It was that season where Western Michigan experienced its best season in program history. The Broncos rattled off 13 consecutive wins to start the season and were thrust into the national spotlight. They hosted College GameDay, broke into the Top 15 of the AP Poll, and defeated Ohio to claim a MAC championship. Western Michigan leveraged that success into a Cotton Bowl bid, where it faced Wisconsin but fell in 24-16 fashion. In the final minutes of the game, Davis muscled his way through several Badger defenders to secure a touchdown on 4th down to slice the deficit to one possession. The spectacular play was Davis’ final reception as a Bronco — a fitting way to conclude a storied tenure.

The three-time First Team All-MAC selection declared for the draft following his senior season and landed as the No. 5 pick to the Tennessee Titans. He joined Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack and Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher as the only other MAC players to warrant top five NFL Draft selections in the 21st century.

Davis spent four seasons with the Titans and led the team in all receiving categories in his second year. However, the former No. 5 overall pick saved his best work for the 2020 season. That year, the 6’3” wideout attained career-highs in receptions (65), receiving yards (984), and tied his personal-best in the touchdowns department with five while sharing a receiver room with Pro Bowler A.J. Brown.

However, devastating news struck in November that season when Davis lost his brother, former Central Michigan superstar wide receiver Titus Davis, to a rare kidney cancer known as renal medullary carcinoma. Titus was 27 at the time of his passing.

Several months after the tragedy transpired, Davis changed uniforms for the first time when signing a free agent deal with the Jets in March 2021. Prior to retiring, Davis was on the brink of his third season with the franchise after posting 1,028 receiving yards and six touchdowns across his first two. He battled numerous injuries during his time in New York, most notably undergoing season-ending core muscle surgery in 2021.

Davis officially retires with an NFL statistical résumé featuring 273 receptions, 3,879 receiving yards, and 17 receiving touchdowns. He participated in six postseason games, all with the Titans, and registered 166 receiving yards and three touchdowns in those outings.

After a record-breaking college football career followed by six seasons in the NFL, Davis will turn the page to the next chapter in his life with his wife and their two children.