HOOVER, Ala. — Marcus Davis’ best year at Auburn was his first year.
Ever since then, the quarterback-turned-receiver has yet to catch on as one of the Tigers’ go-to threats in the offense, averaging 137 yards with only three career touchdowns.
Still, that’s not stopping coaches from pegging him as the candidate most likely to become the Tigers’ top receiver as a senior this fall.
“I’m a guy that, in the past, went with the flow, went with the team, whatever worked for the team,” Davis said. “I feel like now, personally, I’m hungry for the opportunity and I’m gonna make the most of the opportunity.”
Auburn’s leading receivers have picked up at least 600 yards in each season since 2009, Malzahn’s arrival as offensive coordinator and the first of his two stints calling plays for the Tigers.
But Davis is not Sammie Coates, D’haquille Williams or Ricardo Louis. He has yet to record a break-out game, let alone a big season. Comparing Davis’ production — and hopeful uptick in production as a senior — is more akin to the rise Quan Bray experienced in his senior season in 2014, when he went from a 195-yard season in 2013 to 471 yards and four touchdowns.
“Most definitely. That’s just the guy that I learned from,” Davis said. “Hard work, was overlooked, had other guys making big plays. A testament to him is just being a true competitor and a great teammate. I kind of build myself around how he handles himself as far as a football player on the field. I definitely feel like I could do what he did his senior year.”
Davis has excelled at punt return, where he averaged 11.5 yards last season, including six returns for 94 yards in a 31-10 victory against Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl. Gus Malzahn calls him one of the more versatile players on the team.
Playing quarterback at American Heritage Boca-Delray (Fla.) High certainly helps his understanding of the offense. The question is whether that will lead to a memorable season as Auburn searches for a starting quarterback to throw to Davis and others remains to be seen.
“With me, naturally, I’m a leader because of playing quarterback my entire life,” Davis said. “That was kind of easy for me, as far as being a leader. But I’m a football player. I’m a ball player. I like to make plays and have fun. I feel like the more opportunities I can get, the more plays I can make, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”