Elijah Stove (12) and Kyle Davis (11) are shown at Fan Day.
Auburn, Ala.--With the Auburn football team looking for help from four highly-regarded freshman wide receivers, each has a chance to contribute this season, although Kyle Davis has been set back by injures.
“He is out there getting some limited work,” Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee said about Davis, who missed spring practice while recovering from shoulder surgery and then suffered a summer foot injury.
“I think they are telling us by Sunday or Monday he could be full go,” Lashlee said. “He is in as good a place as he has been in a long time. That’s good.”
Davis, who is 6-2, 219 pounds, graduated early from Archer High in Lawrenceville, Ga., where he was a four-star prospect. He watched the spring practices and learned assignments, but was not cleared to play football.
The other three freshman receivers, each out of Florida, are 6-2, 204 Nate Craig from Tampa Catholic High, 6-0, 177 Elijah Stove from Niceville High and 6-2, 208 Marquis McClain from Crestview High. Craig and Stove were ranked four stars and McClain was ranked three stars. Each joined the team this summer.
Marquis McClain gets instruction from wide receivers coach Kodi Burns.
Asked if Davis would be ready to help early in the season, Lashlee said, “We will have to see. All those guys will get an opportunity. Those two weeks of game prep leading up, how people do, will decide a lot.
“Experience with freshmen in big games--some guys they get out there and it doesn't matter,” Lashlee said. “It's like they have done it their whole life. Other guys, even though it is going to be fine, it is different.
“We hope those freshmen compete and contribute a lot the first game,” the offensive coordinator said. “We certainly have no problems giving them opportunities, but we are going to need the veteran guys--the Marcus Davises, the Tony Stevenses, the Jason Smiths--even guys like Ryan Davis who played a little bit. Those guys are going to have to carry some of the load, hopefully the whole year, but definitely early on.”
Nate Craig was an Under Armour and USA Today All-American as a senior.
Marcus Davis is the only returning receiver with major starting experience for the Tigers, who made signing wideouts a major point of emphasis in this year’s recruiting class.
Lashlee said each of the freshmen have promise. Asked what he has noticed about the wideouts, the coach said, “The physical assets they have, whether they are going against Carlton Davis or Javaris Davis, it doesn't matter. They go out and compete. There is not a lot fear in them, and they have all made plays.
“There are plenty of nuances and things they are learning to get better at, but physically they all seem ready. Mentally, I think they will catch up, but they have also shown enough capacity that I that I think they can help us this year.”