Magic Mike preps for his final year as a Longhorn


Elisabeth Dillon

Receiver Mike Davis makes a catch against TCU in 2012. Davis skipped on the NFL to return for his senior season. 

Rachel Thompson

Jan. 10 marked a bit of a mental tug-of-war for Mike Davis

On one side pulled the NFL and the prospect of starting his professional career. Texas held fast on the other side of the rope, holding the opportunity of a senior season to shine and the chance for a Biletnikoff Award

At the day’s start, it appeared he would choose the NFL, as Davis announced his decision to enter the draft to ESPN. But by dusk, he had changed his mind.

“I am sorry for any confusion today,” Davis said in a statement. “I want everyone to know that I’m coming back for my senior year.”

Marked as the second-best wide receiver and 13th-best prospect in the nation at Skyline High School in Dallas, Davis strode onto the Forty Acres and made an impact immediately. He started five games as a freshman and appeared in six more, becoming the third player in school history to rack up several 100-yard receiving games in his first year. 

The bar was set high for his sophomore season. Despite glimpses of greatness, Davis struggled with inconsistency, dropping balls and battling mental blocks. He was still named to the Biletnikoff watch list and led the team in receptions, but he wasn’t satisfied with his performances.

“For whatever reason I felt like he had lost a lot of confidence,” head coach Mack Brown said during spring 2012. “And then when he wasn’t playing as well, or dropped some balls, it bothered him. The expectations were so high.”

But during that spring of running drills and improving his physical and mental state, Davis’s confidence began to grow, so much that he asked Brown if he could emblazon his jersey with “Magic”, his middle name. Brown politely declined. 

As a junior, Davis seemed revitalized, leading the team in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and yards per catch. 

A key player in close games such as Kansas and Oklahoma State, Davis provided a go-to target for David Ash, particularly for long passes. With three years under his belt, Davis is 1,000 yards away from overtaking Jordan Shipley for No. 2 on Texas’ career receiving yards chart. He currently sits at No. 7 all-time.

“A lot of great players have played here, it’s a great honor,” Davis said last fall. “I’ll keep playing like I’m playing and hopefully I’ll finish in the top five.”