The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about them all. Today brings us a jack of all trades who we all want to see become a master of one.
#4 Avery Davis, Receiver/Running back/Cornerback/Emergency Quarterback
Davis was recruited out of Cedar Hill, Texas, a suburb just southwest of Dallas, as a quarterback in the 2017 recruiting class. His offer list included some heavy hitters: Oklahoma, Texas, and Auburn in addition to Notre Dame among a total of 18.
Buried on the depth chart behind Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book with Phil Jurkovec still waiting in the wings, Davis started moving around to different positions in his sophomore season. In 2018, he was used sparingly as a running back, rushing 22 times for 70 yards while catching five passes for 30 yards.
In the spring of 2019, Davis was moved to cornerback, and was actually listed #1 at the nickel position during spring practice before being passed by Shaun Crawford. With the suspension of Kevin Austin and injuries to Jafar Armstrong and Michael Young, Notre Dame suddenly needed bodies in the passing game, so Davis was moved back to offense. Despite not receiving a ton of playing time, Davis had some really nice moments, including a 59-yard touchdown against the New Mexico Lobos and a clutch third-down reception on the game-winning drive against the Virginia Tech Hokies. In total, Davis caught 10 passes for 124 yards while rushing six times for 10 yards in 2019.
Davis is from Texas. You know what else lives in Texas? Jackrabbits.
Also like Davis, jackrabbits are fast-twitch runners notable for their quickness and ability to move through tight spaces. They also can run like the wind if necessary to escape a tackler/predator. All you need to do to see it is set them loose; if Davis gets that opportunity, it’ll be a nice to see for the rising senior.
Back when Notre Dame was still planning to hold spring practice and hopes were high and life worth living, the question of where Davis would be playing this year would be closely observed at this very moment. With spring practice cancelled, along with everything else, due to the threat of COVID-19, we will likely have to wait until August to see where Davis will be used. His speed, ball skills and football IQ will make him useful in some capacity.
You’re probably most likely to see Davis in a role similar to that of Amir Carlisle in 2014 and 2015; a bit player in the passing and running games who may not get the most targets or carries, but will make a play or two and show off his athleticism every few games. His shiftiness and smaller size make it likely that most of those touches will be on runs to the outside or short-to-intermediate passes out of the slot. His background as a quarterback also means he could be used on trick plays; perhaps a fake sweep or reverse that turns out to be a cross-field touchdown pass to a wide-open Ian Book. But I dream. At the very least, he will be the emergency quarterback in a nightmare scenario where Book, Brendon Clark, and Drew Pyne are all injured or otherwise unable to play.
It will be a Brent Musburger/Tom Hammond-worthy feel-good story if we see Davis have another nice moment or two in his senior year. This is a guy we should all be rooting for.