But had it not been for a change of heart prior to the 2010 season, the Marietta native may have ultimately stood by his decision to give football — and college, in general — the boot.
Brackett was actually enrolled at UWG as a freshman in 2004 and came out for the squad under the former West Georgia coaching staff. It’s a time in his life he’s reflected upon and now realizes that he had some growing up to do.
“I kind of left as an immature kid that didn’t want to play football or be at school anymore. I think a lot of it had to do with how the program was at the time. To come back and play and be a part of this and what [UWG] coach [Daryl] Dickey has turned around and put this program together, it’s unbelievable,” said Brackett, now a 27-year-old senior. “The things he does and the things he provides for us and for this whole athletic program at West Georgia, it’s amazing. These last three years are years I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
And while Brackett made the decision to return in 2010, it wasn’t such a romantic reunion initially.
Battling injuries throughout his sophomore season, Brackett went just 3-of-9 on field goal attempts and was primarily used as a punter.
“Jeez, it’s evolved a lot because my first year playing in 2010 I tore my groin. Just over-kicking in camp trying to earn a spot. The competitive side got to me and I ended up hurting myself. So coming back from that, it was a pretty rough season. I made a few field goals here and there, but the majority of my time was punting,” Brackett said.
The Harrison High School product kept at it, though, and enjoyed a breakout junior campaign, earning All-Gulf South Conference, All-Region and All-American honors as the Wolves finished 6-4 on the season.
“Then coming back now, I feel like things are finally where they need to be. It’s slow for me on the field. I’m not rushing things. I know what to expect. I’m just comfortable,” noted Brackett, who will look to help lead the Wolves to a homecoming victory over GSC rival Valdosta State on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Brackett has gotten off to a stellar senior season, knocking down all six of his field goal attempts — three of which were beyond 40 yards with a season-best of 44 yards — while averaging 42.17 yards per punt, seven of which pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line.
When it comes to place-kicking, Brackett said it’s night and day from where he, senior long snapper Drew Gaddy and junior holder Chase Penland were at this time a year ago.
“Things ended up going well for us last year. We put together a really good season. But we’ve kind of hit our stride right now. We’re comfortable with each other. It’s our second year working together. We’ve built a good relationship and timing and rhythm is where I feel like it needs to be,” Brackett said.
Dickey noted that his standout special teams performer has come a long way over the past three years.
“Well, Davis is capping off an end to a really good career here. His work ethic and energy and the focus and the time and work that he’s put into it is really paying off for him,” Dickey said. “He’s an example for all of us and he’s really committed. He loves to play and he loves what he’s doing and he loves West Georgia.”
And for a guy that had all but given up on football at one point, Brackett is now keeping his options open to play at the next level should the opportunity present itself.
“It’s silly to think, ‘No,’ because you work so hard and you put so many hours in — really all year-round to play 10 guaranteed games — and it’s something that I love. It’s something I have a passion for. And I want to stick around as long as I can until somebody says ‘No,’ that they don’t need my services,” Brackett said.
“I plan on continuing to train and kick and lift this spring and see if I get any interest from anybody — whether it’s any Pro Day stuff here or not. And if not, I’ve got my education in Mass Communications and hopefully I’ll stick around in the sports industry.”