Former Illini & NFL Cornerback Vontae Davis Dies at 35

Davis was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and a freshman starting cornerback on the last Illinois team to play in the Rose Bowl. 

Matt Stevens, IlliniGuys Staff Writer

April 1, 2024

Vontae Davis, a former two-time All-Big Ten selection and former National Football League first round selection in the 2009 draft, died at the age of 35.

Multiple news outlets in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area confirmed early Monday morning a death investigation was underway after a body was found at a residence in Southwest Ranches - a suburb located in the middle of the two large city areas.

Local police in Southwest Ranches confirmed that a male was found deceased at the home that property records show is owned by Adaline Davis, who is Vontae Davis’ grandmother, and no foul play was involved. The investigation is currently still ongoing.

The news of Davis’ death began to circulate on social media early Monday morning after Illinois men’s basketball assistant coach Chester Frazier, who played basketball at Illinois at the same time Davis was starring on the football field for the Illini, sent out a tweet that he’d been notified of Davis’ sudden death.

Davis selected Illinois as a three-star prospect out of Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. and was a priority recruit for then-Illini assistant coach Mike Locksley for head coach Ron Zook’s Illinois program after Davis was selected as a Washington Post first-team All-Metro player and the Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year.

Davis started at cornerback in every one of his 36 career games at Illinois and capped his first ever game at Illinois as a true freshman with an interception. Davis finished his second and third seasons at Illinois as a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award while also earning unanimous first-team All-Big Ten honors by both the coaches and media in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Davis was named an All-American by Playboy Magazine and Rivals.com in 2008. By the time Davis declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season, he ranked eighth in the Illinois history book in career passes broken up with 22.

Davis was a critical component to the last Illini team to play in a Rose Bowl. Davis had five tackles - including two solos - and had a tackle for loss and broke up a pass in the upset win at No. 1 Ohio State before posting a career-best, team-leading 13 tackles, all of which were solo stops, in the Rose Bowl loss to Southern California.

Davis was named to Freshman All-America first teams by The Sporting News, Scout.com and Rivals.com.

After being selected with the 25th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, Davis had a 10-year professional career with Miami, the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills that included 113 starts, two Pro Bowl selections and 22 interceptions.

In June 2015, Davis married his girlfriend Megan Harpe and in September 2019, Davis became the CEO of a holistic wellness spa, VZone, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Davis' older brother, Vernon, played tight end at Maryland and was the sixth overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, selected by the San Francisco 49ers before becoming among the most productive tight ends in NFL history while recording 7,562 receiving yards and 63 touchdowns in his 15-year career.

Podcasts

Illini Football Spring Game #354

Listen

April 19 Weekend (S3,36)

Listen

Portal Kombat - Rough Day for the Illini #353

Listen

Portal Kombat - Booth Commit #352

Listen

Portal Kombat - April 14 Update #351

Listen

April 12 Weekend (S3,35)

Listen

Portal Kombat - Tre White Commits to Illini #350

Listen

WrestleMania 40 Preview #349

Listen

April 5 Weekend (S3,34)

Listen

Illini Grounded by UConn 77-52 #348

Listen

Mar 29 Weekend (S3,Ep33)

Listen

Illini Earn Elite 8, Defeat Iowa State 72-69 #347

Listen

Meyers Leonard - IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular Sneak Peek #346

Listen

Road to the Elite Eight - Iowa State Preview #345

Listen

Illini Sweet 16 Bound: 89-63 Over the Dukes #344

Listen