Davis thrust into leadership role despite lack of experience

Christian Corona

Editor’s Note: The Daily Texan will introduce one important Longhorn each issue. Here is No. 5 of the Texan’s 10 Most Important Longhorns.

It’s usually not a good thing when your best wide receiver is a sophomore, but there’s no need to worry with Mike Davis at the Longhorns’ disposal.

As a true freshman last season, Davis caught a freshman single-season record 47 passes for 478 yards. Many of Texas’ most prominent pass-catchers, however, are gone with James Kirkendoll and John Chiles exhausting their eligibility, Malcolm Williams leaving the team this offseason, and Marquise Goodwin redshirting as he pursues his Olympic track and field aspirations. So despite being just a sophomore, Davis will be counted on to be the team’s most productive receiver.

“The wideouts are a young group,” said Major Applewhite, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach. “Not a senior in the group. [They have] a lot to prove. With it not being a really experienced group, they kind of feel like the little brother that’s ignored so they’re going to make their mark. They’re doing a great job.”

Of Texas’ top seven wide receivers, four are freshman, two are sophomores and there is one junior — DeSean Hales, who registered 10 receptions last year. Jaxon Shipley, one of the freshmen, is a strong candidate to start. Davis will have a lot of pressure on him to lead, but his coaches are confident he can handle it.

“Mike Davis has been great,” said Bryan Harsin, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. “He can be a special player for us but I really like the way he’s competing. I like his attitude and I like what he brings to our team.”

Not only are Davis and the rest of the receiving corps inexperienced, but the Longhorns have also welcomed a new receivers coach this year. Former Kansas co-offensive coordinator Darrell Wyatt, who is also known for his remarkable recruiting prowess, has drawn high praise for his work with this young group.

“Darrell Wyatt has got to be considered one of the best wide receivers coaches in the country,” said head coach Mack Brown.

New faces like Wyatt could be beneficial for the Longhorns wide receivers, none of whom caught more than two touchdowns last season. In their defense, there were only 10 to go around, but with Davis at the front of this young wide receiver pack, they will be much more productive.

Printed on Friday, August 26, 2011 as: David leads inexperienced group of receivers.