Auburn, Ala.--Coming off an impressive freshman football season that saw him become the Auburn version of a shutdown cornerback by the end of the year, Carlton Davis is back and ready for more this spring for the Tigers. Now as one of the veterans of the group for first-year Coach Wesley McGriff, Davis said he’s focused on every area of his game as he looks to bigger and better things in 2016.
“I have been working on everything,” Davis said. “I have been working on everything trying to improve in every aspect of my game. I have been working my butt off. Hopefully, I get to put on a show for you guys this fall.”
Even though their first spring together isn’t even done yet, McGriff said he sees plenty to like from his talented sophomore defensive back. While his size and athleticism are very apparent, the former New Orleans Saints assistant coach said that it’s the drive to be the best that makes Davis what he is.
“He competes,” McGriff said. “He wants to get better. Every day is a new challenge for him. He is a young man that in meetings sits on the front row. He takes notes thoroughly and asks questions. It matters to him, football is really important to him.
“I think he’s taking those things just in terms of football and he’s carried them over. It’s exciting to have a guy that has the physical tools, but at the same time has the mindset that he wants to get better.”
Carlton Davis earned Freshman All-SEC honors last season.
It didn’t take long for Davis to see plenty he liked out of McGriff as well. Known as being an energetic guy, McGriff and coordinator Kevin Steele both made the transition from Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson an easy one for the young cornerback.
“It was kind of difficult,” Davis said of the news that the coaches who recruited him to Auburn were leaving. “I didn’t know what was going to go on and what was the next step, but when Coach McGriff and Coach Steele came in they made me feel comfortable. I’m really happy we got those guys. I’m really blessed, honestly, just to have those coaches come and coach me up.”
With a defense that is expected to be better this season, McGriff said having a player like Davis on the outside is an important part of things and that’s not just because of his talent.
“It means a lot for the entire football team,” McGriff said. “It means a lot for the entire program. When you have a guy in your program that is consistent and you can count on and is dependable and goes out every day and knows it’s another opportunity to earn it.
“He goes out and works as if ‘I’ve got to earn it today, I can’t be worried about what happened yesterday.’ Today is important. It’s not only Carlton, but several guys in that room go out and compete like today is the most important day. They truly believe they have to go out and earn it every day.”
With the expectations of a defense that could be one of the best in the SEC this year, Davis said his goals are “14 points a game or less” in the fall. For that to happen it will take some serious improvement for the Tigers, something Davis said is very much a possibility.
“We picked up right where we left off in the Birmingham Bowl,” Davis said. “It’s like it’s really on. We’re not going to be talked about at the beginning of the season, but I feel like once we go on a 5-0 run people will start to recognize what’s working for Auburn?
“It’s the defense. We’re getting better every day. Coach Steele, Coach McGriff and all our new coaches are just working us. I feel it. It’s like a gut feeling. I just feel it.”