AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football isn’t involved in the eternal debate over which school is the SEC’s “Defensive Back U.” But Carlton Davis wants people to think of Auburn as a place where famed cornerback duos play inside college football’s best conference.
The Auburn junior cornerback said he wants himself and his fellow Florida native, sophomore corner Javaris Davis, to remind fans of a defensive back tandem that starred in the Swamp last season.
“We just go to work every day, push each other, make plays and just be that SEC duo,” Carlton Davis said Saturday. “That’s really what we’re looking for, just being that SEC duo that everyone talks about — that Quincy Wilson and Jalen Tabor type. That’s what we’re working toward this year.”
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Tabor was a two-time first-team All-SEC selection at Florida, while Wilson was a second-team All-SEC pick in 2016. Both former Gators are projected to be second-round picks in the upcoming NFL draft.
Auburn’s duo of Davises have a long way to go before they reach the heights Tabor and Wilson accomplished at Florida.
But that’s the goal the older Davis has in mind for Auburn’s projected starters at cornerback. He believes this spring will go a long way in getting to that level. That starts with him becoming a shutdown corner.
“Just perfecting my craft, as far as pressuring, being that lockdown corner that we need,” Carlton Davis said. “Just going out there and competing every play, not taking any play off, not seeing the competition and not working my technique. I’m trying to work everybody, all the time, all day long.”
Both Davises spoke about the importance of becoming more consistent on the field Saturday. The two cornerbacks received a lot more action in the first spring scrimmage than in years past, as Auburn threw the ball twice as much as usual in 11-on-11 work.
“I feel like me personally, I just have to keep going,” Javaris Davis said. “Never take a play off. Play every play like it’s my last, and that’s what coach always preached to us. So I just have to stay on top of it and play every play like it’s my last play.”
Carlton Davis will be a returning starter for Auburn’s defense this season. Javaris Davis, on the other hand, has eyes on replacing former starter Josh Holsey.
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Javaris Davis started the first game of Auburn’s 2016 season before Holsey took over the spot. In that time, though, Carlton Davis saw his younger teammate grow into a stronger cover corner.
“Oh my God, Javaris — he (can) climb the mountain,” Carlton Davis said. “Freshman year he redshirted, then last year was his coming-out year, and I’m expecting an even bigger year this year for him. … He’s a great press man at corner. His speed is outrageous, and he has good ball skills.”
While Auburn lost two senior starting defensive backs this offseason, the Davises believe the ceiling is even higher for the secondary in 2017 — like Tabor and Wilson level.
“The experience level has risen, and we just have so many players back besides Josh and Rudy (Ford) who played last year,” Carlton Davis said. “And just from that experience of playing last year, it helps us a lot more moving forward.”