Editor's Note: These lists feature our thoughts on the most important players for Auburn heading into the 2016 football season. We are counting down 16 key Tigers for the offense and 16 more for the defense as Coach Gus Malzahn's team prepares to face Clemson in the season opener.
Following an off-the-field incident that won’t bring forth any suspension for Davis and three others, he is expected to be in the starting lineup for the season opener against the Clemson Tigers and that is a good thing for Gus Malzahn’s football team.
Facing perhaps the best combination of quarterback and wide receivers in college football, Auburn will need Davis to be at his best when the Tigers take the field on Sept. 3. Very good a season ago, Davis got better with every game and peaked in the bowl win over Memphis in which he was dominating.
Coming off a strong spring, Davis is now bigger and stronger. Already physical on the edge, if he adds to his game this season it could be lights out for the opposition.
Best Case Scenario: If the Davis we saw at the end of last season makes the leap forward that you expect a player to take in his second season as a collegian, then it would be one of the keys to Auburn’s defense taking things to another level. Having a true shutdown cornerback in the secondary would allow the Tigers to play things much differently in the secondary and force teams to almost show their hand in the passing game.
Worst Case Scenario: Even if he peaked last season, that would still make him still a good player for the Tigers. Probably the worst case scenario, outside of an injury, would be for the pass rush to struggle because that is something any defensive back needs to help do his job. Without that it could be a tough year even for a guy with the talent of Davis.
Career Comparison: It’s hard to find anyone in Auburn history that compares to the success that Carlton Davis had as a freshman and also the size he brings to the position. The guy who comes to mind when I think about a comparison is former LSU and NFL cornerback Corey Webster because he got the job done without 4.4 speed and imposing size. A 6-0, 200-pounder that wasn’t exceptionally fast, Webster knew how to play the game and was a solid NFL player for several years as part of a pair of Super Bowl teams with the New York Giants.
Quote: “You go to that emotionally maturity and it's really, really important at the corner position because you've got to be able to play the next play,” Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele said. “That's a hard job. You're out there on an island and it's hard. He has the physical tools. He's very technically sound.”