ESPN College GameDay’s Rece Davis Says He ‘Was Very Concerned’ About His Alabama Accent Early Into His Career But Embraced It

by Dustin Schutte

Y’all may not believe this, but there was a time when ESPN College GameDay host Rece Davis worried about his future in the television business. The concern? A very noticeable southern accent.

Davis, who replaced Chris Fowler as the host of College GameDay in 2015, said he was concerned about his southern accent, which he picked up living in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, early in his career. Joining Kelly Gramlich and Eric Mac Lain on the Gramlich and Mac Lain podcast, the longtime ESPN personality discussed his internal struggle.

“I was pretty concerned about it early in my career. I had a distinct southern accent,” Davis said. “Even though the bio says I was born in Chicago – and I was – my parents were southerners. My dad was working as a machinist, and we moved back south when I was four years old. So, I grew up in Northwest Alabama. I had a very distinct southern accent.”

What did Davis do in order to address his concerns? He says he worked on his diction and grammar early in his career. He also explained how the book Change Your Voice, Change Your Life taught him how to feel comfortable in his own shoes.

“I read the book and the section on accents said, ‘Embrace them or leave them.’ And it was almost like I had an epiphany,” Davis said. “The one thing you want to be on television is authentic. So, I decided, if I say something on occasion that sounds like I’m from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, I am. And it’s OK.”

Cue Morgan Wallen’s hit song, The Way I Talk.

Despite his concerns, Davis’s accent clearly didn’t cost him any opportunities. The media personality landed a job at ESPN in 1995 and has become one of the prominent fixtures for the network. This year will mark his eighth as the host of College GameDay, one of the biggest jobs in college football.

Rece Davis’s Southern Accent Heading to Columbus in Week 1

Rece Davis will be taking his Alabama accent to Columbus, Ohio with the rest of the College GameDay crew for a premier showdown in Week 1.

Ohio State will host Notre Dame in a battle of blueblood programs on Saturday, Sept. 3. College GameDay will be in town to preview the colossal showdown and ABC will air the game at 6:30 p.m. CT. It’s the first meeting between the Buckeyes and Fighting Irish since the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2016. Ohio State defeated Notre Dame 44-28.

The Buckeyes and Fighting Irish have played just six times with Ohio State owning a 4-2 all-time series lead. Notre Dame’s last victory was a 7-2 decision in … 1936.

Still, both programs are coming off 11-2 campaigns in 2021. They’re two of college football’s premier programs. Both are early favorites to land in the College Football Playoff.

Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard should have no trouble getting college football fans hyped for that colossal showdown.