COVID-19 threw the entire world into a maelstrom, and Davis Mills was just another little ship circling the whirlpool.
Mills completed his redshirt junior year at Stanford amid a season of uncertainty and opt-outs due to the novel coronavirus. He only played five games in 2020, and he had 14 games total in his career with the Cardinal.
The former Greater Atlanta Christian School product was at a crossroads.
“I thought about going back to school, but there were a lot of uncertainties at the time with COVID protocols, especially out in California, Santa Clara County,” Mills told reporters on Dec. 29. “I think the 49ers had similar protocols that we had at Stanford where basically if you left the state and came back, you’d have to quarantine for two weeks, stuff like that.”
Santa Clara County’s COVID protocols forced the San Francisco 49ers to play their final three home games of 2020 out of state in Glendale, Arizona, at State Farm Stadium, the home of the Arizona Cardinals.
“So, I didn’t know if I’d get a full spring ball or offseason to train and keep getting better,” Mills said. “Ultimately, I felt like I had enough on tape to give myself a shot for a team to take the chance on me, and I ended up in Houston and here we are.”
The Texans used their No. 67 overall pick in the third round to take Mills, the first pick of the general manager Nick Caserio era.
If Mills had stayed at Stanford for another season, perhaps his stock would have risen and he would be one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 draft class, which would mean Houston with their presumptive No. 3 overall pick in April would consider Mills as their solution at quarterback.
Mills will return to Santa Clara County Sunday as Houston plays San Francisco Sunday at 3:05 p.m. Central Time at Levi’s Stadium.