As Avery Davis’s 2017 goes, so does Brian Kelly’s.
If the 5-foot-11, 192 pound quarterback from Cedar Hill (Texas) High School takes a meaningful snap this season, the Irish’s head coach for the past eight years doesn’t make it to a ninth year.
That isn’t a knock on the four-star, who scouts love for his feet and his athleticism. Rather, it’s an acknowledgment that junior Brandon Wimbush is the guy - and there’s no one truly ready behind him.
The Irish actually offered Hunter Johnson, their top 2017 quarterback choice, five months before locking in their 2016 quarterback, Ian Book. Johnson, a five-star from Brownsburg, Ind., shunned the in-state Irish and initially picked the Tennessee Volunteers. (He’s now a Clemson Tigers commit; the Irish play them again in Johnson’s senior year.)
Davis was slow to mature, causing many of the Texas schools to initially overlook him and give the Irish a chance at landing him. But Davis didn’t say yes right away. It was only after the Irish offered Hendon Hooker — a taller, better rated recruit — that Davis locked in a visit to Notre Dame’s Junior Day and subsequently committed. (Hooker later verbally committed to Virginia Tech, who the Irish play in 2018 & 2019.)
Recruiting services have varied opinions about Davis. He’s rated as high as No. 189 by Scout, which is the lone service to assign four stars to the Texan. 247 Sports has him as the No. 401 overall player, while Rivals doesn’t even have a number for him. Both of those recruiting services consider him a three-star talent.
Scout considers Davis the 11th best quarterback in the 2017 class, while 247 Sports considers him the 10th best dual threat signal caller. (Rivals has him at No. 19 among dual threats.)
Davis is knocked mostly for his inconsistent play and arm strength, but he did enough on the field to impress the Irish and other Power 5 schools, such as the Auburn Tigers, Baylor Bears, Oklahoma State Cowboys and Tennessee Volunteers.
Irish fans should expect Davis to challenge for the No. 2 spot in 2018, as it’s likely he’ll start the upcoming year behind senior/redshirt junior Montgomery VanGorder and sophomore/redshirt freshman Book and Wimbush on the depth chart.