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Avery Davis chasing history in senior campaign

| Friday, December 18, 2020

After numerous position changes, wide receiver Avery Davis has found success in his senior season while also developing into a difference maker for Notre Dame’s offensive unit. Davis has even gained national prominence after his electric performance against Clemson, in which he accumulated 78 yards and pushed the game into OT with a pivotal receiving touchdown. In many ways, his performance against the Tigers seemed to serve as the peak of Davis’ football experience, but even greater moments may be on the horizon as his big play ability should help Notre Dame in the postseason.

Davis summarized his current outlook by stating that his career has been, “a long journey, and it’s been tough with a lot of ebbs and flows. However, it’s kind of on the upper hand right now, so [I’m] enjoying the ride.”

Before arriving at Notre Dame, Davis was one of the most highly regarded dual-threat quarterback prospects in the nation. He passed for an impressive 2,876 yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior at Cedar Hill High School while also rushing for 369 yards and six touchdowns.

Even though he would not be a quarterback for most of his career at Notre Dame, Davis displayed his adaptability by learning to play at the running back, cornerback and wide receiver positions. Davis would eventually excel in his role as a receiver, developing quickly and accumulating 124 yards and two touchdowns during his first season at the position.

Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics
Irish senior wide receiver Avery Davis takes a jet sweep during Notre Dame’s 12-7 victory over Louisville on Oct. 12. Davis had two ‘catches’ — both jet sweeps — for just 17 yards against the Cardinals, but had his breakout game on the biggest stage, going for 78 yards, 53 of which came on one pass play on the final Irish drive of regulation, and a score that sent the game into overtime against then-No. 1 Clemson on Nov. 7.

When reflecting on this period of his career, Davis explained that he could rely on his fellow players to help him adjust to his many new roles with the team.

“I was going through such a dramatic change, and I would say that my teammates really instilled confidence in me,” Davis said. “They taught me the ins and outs of the new position, which was helpful because they’ve been playing it for much longer than I have. I really appreciate their selflessness, not seeing me as a threat or anything.”

This season has been Davis’ best at Notre Dame as he has already more than doubled his receiving production in 2020 with 292 yards. He is known for his speed and athleticism, which allows him to become a main target for Ian Book in long yardage situations. Davis’ past experience as a running back gives the Notre Dame offense added flexibility as they have utilized his skill through specially designed rushing plays. Davis’ breakthrough has been even more impressive when taking the uncertainty of this season into consideration.

When asked about how he has dealt with the season’s issues during the pandemic, Davis stated that he focused on challenges daily.

“I feel like COVID makes you appreciate every week because no game is guaranteed,” he said. “My mindset was just taking it day by day, accepting the lack of control, trying to stay healthy and just being able to play when the season came.”

Avery Davis’ journey exemplifies the resiliency and toughness of this year’s Notre Dame team as a whole. Like Davis, many of the Irish have proven doubters wrong and are a part of one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory. Davis himself recognizes the specialness of this year’s squad and explained that everyone is eager to make their mark among the other great Notre Dame teams throughout the years.

“It’s like we’re chasing history,” Davis said. “This year has been unprecedented, especially with the football season. So, here we are as an independent school. We join conference for the first time and have the opportunity to win the ACC championship. There are just so many ways we can make history this year. It’s pretty exciting.”

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