COLUMBIA, S.C. — Randrecous Davis has spent nearly as much time on the operating table as he has the field at South Carolina.
In two games as a freshman in 2016, the wide receiver from Atlanta caught 3 passes before suffering a season-ending hamstring injury, the first in a series of setbacks that have become the norm during his young career.
Four surgeries later, Davis is chomping at the bit to reestablish himself as a valuable commodity in the Gamecocks’ passing attack.
“Being eager to be on the field and compete for your spot, you don’t ever want to lose your spot,” Davis said. “I’m out there and I get an injury. Do I want to sit out or am I going to tough it out?
“I’ve always been one to tough it out, so when I got hurt the first time, I kind of hurt myself again and pulled something. Then I was like, OK, maybe it’s time to sit down. It just kept occurring, then I was like, maybe I just need to let it heal. That’s what I’ve been focusing on, letting my body heal and get right for this season.”
Davis was on his way back to the field earlier this year, or so he thought. While doing a squat during an offseason workout, Davis experienced a sports hernia, which forced him to miss most of South Carolina’s spring practice.
“That was frustrating, too,” he said. “It was another setback. I was just getting back into the motions of getting back healthy and all that.”
Surgery No. 4, “wasn’t anything too major,” but it will limit Davis through the first few days of preseason camp. On Sunday, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp designated him as day-to-day.
“I had fluid and some blood, like two pockets above where I had my first surgery, then they had to pull those out,” Davis said. “I’m feeling good right now.”
When there was pain, Muschamp felt it.
“It’s extremely frustrating for any player, but especially for a young player, when they have an injury that ends their season. The frustration for them sets in,” he said. “A lot of times when you’re injured, you’re not at practice, you’re in the training room getting treatment. You don’t really feel a part. I went through that my freshman year, breaking my collarbone, you don’t feel a part of the organization.”
The Gamecocks’ second-year coach hopes Davis can stay healthy enough to be a contributing member of the organization in 2017.
“He’s a guy who can help our football team. He’s extremely talented,” Muschamp said. “We’ve got to keep him healthy, and that’s the most important thing, and he understands that. He’s stayed positive through this. Anytime you face some adversity like this, it helps you grow up a little bit, and I think he has.”
With South Carolina’s season opener against North Carolina State looming on the horizon, Davis is among several freshman wide receivers vying for the third spot with Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards.
Unfortunately, for Davis, the others – OrTre Smith, Shi Smith and Chad Terrell are all ready to compete for playing time.
“It’s frustrating, but I’m just working, staying humble,” Davis said, “Just keep working until I get back to where I want to be.”