Auburn Football: Tigers Wide Receiver Marcus Davis is a Breakout Candidate


In the Outback Bowl, Auburn football fans will have one final opportunity to watch favorites like Nick Marshall, Cameron Artis-Payne, Sammie Coates, Reese Dismukes and Gabe Wright suit up in orange and blue. However, they should keep an eye on Marcus Davis.

Davis can get lost in a crowd, especially on the football field. However, he has an opportunity to be a breakout player in the bowl game and in 2015.

Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Marcus Davis (80) catches a pass over Florida State Seminoles defensive back Nate Andrews (29) during the first half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

“Marcus is awesome because he’s one of those glue guys you have to have on your team,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee told the media this week.

Davis been very dependable for the Tigers. He has played in all 12 games this year and started three and is coming off his most productive game of the season. The 5-foot-9, 174-pound sophomore caught four passes for 21 yards  against Alabama and was targeted on another pass play.

He was also credited with two rushing yards when an errant snap hit him as he went in motion across the formation. Davis was quick-witted enough to avoid a costly turnover by grabbing the ball and getting what little yardage he could.

The play was a small sample of Davis’ big football IQ, and an example of the little things he does well that often go unnoticed.

“That kid is so mature,” wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig said in August. “He brings so much to the room. He brings so much to the team. He’s a quiet assassin. He goes out and works like a veteran. You wouldn’t think this kid is a true freshman. I love coaching him. My wife says she wants to adopt him, she loves him so much. He’s an easy guy to like. He’s great to coach. He accepts our coaching. He likes to be pushed.”

He was pushed down the pecking order this year with the arrival of JUCO All-American D’haquille Williams and the emergence of senior Quan Bray, but Davis was used more as a freshman in 2013. He grabbed 23 passes for 217 yards, both of which ranked third on the team, and a touchdown. Davis also had a streak of seven straight games with a catch and played in 13 games with two starts.

More from Auburn Football

Looking ahead to next season, Davis has an opportunity to earn a bit more of the spotlight. Despite catching only 11 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown so far in 2014, the Florida native will be one of Auburn’s top returning receivers next season.

With Coates and (probably) Williams taking their freakish talent to the NFL and Bray graduating, only Ricardo Louis (20 receptions for 195 yards and two TDs) has more grabs this season among wide receivers than Davis. He has a similar skill set to Bray, so Davis should settle in to the role the senior held this season as a slot receiver, speed sweep specialist, and potentially even as a Wildcat quarterback. After all, Davis was a QB in high school.

Other receivers may get more attention between now and fall camp as head coach Malzahn, Lashlee and Craig attempt to replace their explosive outside playmakers. Bigger-bodied long-striders like Melvin Ray, Jaylon Denson, Tony Stevens, Myron Burton and potential UAB transfer Jamari Staples are the early candidates to step into the roles Coates and Williams held this season.

But just watch as hard-working, under the radar Marcus Davis emerges as one of new quarterback Jeremy Johnson‘s favorite targets next year.

Next: Previews & Predictions For Every Bowl Game

More from Fly War Eagle