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Sunday, June 16, 2024
The Observer

Avery Davis cherishes captain title as he finds role on and off field

Graduate student Avery Davis took a while to find the perfect fit for his skills on this Irish roster. It wasn't his talent that was in question, it was how to use it. At Cedar Hill High School in Cedar Hill, Texas, in his senior year, Davis was undeniably a dual-threat quarterback. He threw for 2,876 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2016 despite missing two games with an ankle injury. Additionally, he ran for 84 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Then, after arriving on campus Davis spent his freshman year on the scout team. He then played in nine games his sophomore year, primarily at running back. He ran for 70 yards on the year and had five receptions for 30 yards. It wasn't until his junior year that he switched to cornerback, and then quickly to wide receiver.

It was there he finally started to shine. On the year, he had 24 receptions for 322 yards and 2 touchdowns. Davis knew wide receiver was the right fit for him and he could finally get to work.

Irish graduate student wide receiver Avery Davis tucks the ball close and advances upfield during Notre Dame's 34-6 win over Navy on Nov. 6 at Notre Dame Stadium.

"I think from the beginning, just the way I was raised, I've always done things and taken pride in doing things the right way," Davis said. "Taking pride in being the same guy every day, taking pride in doing things right and taking pride in my own work and accountability, cleaning up after myself, especially the little things. Until like last year, I didn't feel like I proved myself so I felt like I didn't really have a voice. You know what I mean? We come here to play football. So, like in the locker room, of course, I'm friends with everybody on the team. There's always camaraderie there, but I felt like on the field, I didn't prove myself, at least in my own head. It could have been completely myself, but in my own mind, I felt like I wasn't there yet to be a captain and to have that voice, I had to establish my presence on the field, as someone they can depend on inside those lines."

The coaches saw that work as well. At the beginning of this season, they named Davis a captain.

"I mean, ultimate honor, ultimate pleasure," Davis said. "I feel like if you would have told me I would make captain literally a year ago or any time for that I would have been like, 'You're blind. I don't believe that.' I didn't see it happening. Just it's crazy how things unfold, it's crazy how when you stick to the process, to be the same person every day and continue to work hard, what things are gonna come to you."

He wasn't always sure of his future here though. Having the recognition from his coaches was reassuring, and he trusted his own work and his own process to guide him.

"It comes down to resilience and perseverance, those were two things for me growing up so it was like, quitting was never really an option." Davis said, "When I got here, I definitely didn't expect it to go the way it did, by no means. But I just took it and went with it and I feel like, if I can remember correctly it was after my junior spring game when I was playing defensive back. I was really frustrated and didn't know what to do. Didn't know if I should leave didn't know if I should stay, but I just had a long prayer and I was like, I'm just gonna take every day by itself. Treat every day like its own day and try to get better every single day. And two years later, and here I am. So it's crazy how it all worked out."

He's seen the results on the field as well. Davis tore his ACL against Navy on Nov. 6, which ended his season. But before then he had already surpassed his reception numbers from last year. This year he's had 27 receptions for 386 yards and 4 touchdowns.

It won't go unnoticed in the last few games that Davis's contributions are missing from the field, but he has full faith in the younger receivers to do the work and get the job done in his place.

"They have a lot of promise, I think they're super talented." Davis said, "All three of them, from [freshmen teammates and wide receivers] Lorenzo [Styles] to JT [Jayden Thomas] to Deion [Colzie]. They're all really talented. They've been dealing with injuries, but we've seen Deion a lot lately. He's looking like he has tremendous upside so I'm excited to see him move forward especially the more he develops."

Davis has been invited back to the team next year by head coach Brian Kelly but has not made a definitive decision.