His career batting average on the Army baseball team was .403 for 51 games, and he stole 64 bases in 65 attempts, including second, third and home in an exhibition game against the Brooklyn Dodgers at West Point. Branch Rickey, the Dodgers' president at the time, made him a standing offer of $75,000 to sign, which was a king's ransom in the '40s.
Davis may well have been the fastest football player ever to play the game up to his time. The qualifier is necessary because no one could ever be certain just how fast he was; like Blanchard, he considered track a mere diversion. But in 1947 Davis did beat Barney Ewell, the silver medalist at 100 meters in the 1948 Olympic Games, in a 6.1 60-yard dash at a meet in Madison Square Garden. But Davis's most famous track exploit came after a baseball game against Navy at West Point in 1947. The ball game, which started in the morning, was followed that afternoon by the annual Army-Navy track meet. Davis played the full nine innings in center-field, getting, as he recalls, "a couple of hits." Then, because Army was short of sprinters, he was rushed by car from the diamond to the track, where he changed to shorts and was handed a pair of borrowed track shoes. Davis had not run in an outdoor meet that year, nor had he practiced a single day on the track.
"They held up the dashes for him," says Bobby Folsom, a former football teammate who, from 1976 to '81, was the mayor of Dallas. "I can remember Glenn jogging over to the start of the 100 carrying those borrowed shoes. Well, we all know what happened next."
Davis was called for one false start in the 100-yard dash, and he was so cautious on the next start that he was all but left in the blocks. But he easily caught up with the field and won in 9.7, an excellent time for any sprinter in 1947, an astonishing time for one who hadn't trained and who had just finished playing nine innings of baseball. Then, in the 220, he merely established a meet and an Academy record of 20.9.
But Davis had more than speed on the football field. He was only 5'9" and 170 pounds, but he ran with unusual power and was one of the shiftiest backs the game has ever known. "He and Doc were both easy to block for," says DeWitt (Tex) Coulter, an All-America tackle on the Blanchard-Davis teams. "You didn't really need to get in a solid lick, because they had this sense of where to go, that great running instinct."
Davis still holds or shares five NCAA rushing and scoring records. His career-average gain of 8.26 yards (2,957 yards in 358 carries) has been the standard for 42 years. He is tied with Pittsburgh's Tony Dorsett for career touchdowns, with 59. Davis had 43 rushing TDs, 14 on pass receptions and two on punt returns. He also scored touchdowns in 31 games, a record he shares with Dorsett and Ted Brown of North Carolina State, and he scored two or more touchdowns in 17 games, a record he shares with Dorsett and Steve Owens of Oklahoma. Together, Davis and Blanchard hold the career record for most touchdowns and points scored by two players on the same team—97 and 585, respectively.
Granted, some of those extraordinary numbers were achieved against weak, wartime opponents, but by 1946 the big boys, older, stronger and more experienced from service football, were back. Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside were equal to the occasion. Although Blanchard missed two games with a knee injury, he still rushed for 613 yards and a 5.2 average. Davis averaged 5.8 yards a carry that year, gained 712 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. It was his turn for the Heisman.
The Blanchard-Davis Army teams of '44 through '46 had only a 0-0 tie with Notre Dame on November 9, 1946, at Yankee Stadium to taint an otherwise unblemished 27-0-1 record. They won 25 straight before coming up empty against the Irish. The '44 team set an NCAA record by averaging 56 points a game and holding opponents to only 3.9.
The '45 team, considered by Colonel Blaik and his two stars to have been the best of the three, set records for average gain per rushing play (7.64) and average gain per play (7.92). That team averaged 459 yards a game. The '46 team, depleted by graduations, dismissals and injuries to Blanchard and quarterback Young Arnold Tucker, and playing against such war-veteran-revived powers as Oklahoma, Michigan and Notre Dame, still finished undefeated, outscoring all 10 opponents 263 to 80.
But the Black Knights of the Hudson would never again ride so triumphantly. "I finally figured out what will stop Blanchard and Davis," Giants coach Owen slyly advised some of his college coaching friends. "Graduation."