Auburn, Ala.--In a battle for the starting cornerback spot opposite Carlton Davis in the spring and early in preseason, speedster Javaris Davis is expected to be a key defender for the Auburn Tigers following a knee injury to Jamel Dean.
Redshirting last football season despite making a strong impression on the coaching staff, Davis is expected to be on the field for the first snap and he said he is ready for the challenge.
“I’m finally getting an opportunity so I have to just take advantage and just do what he coaches ask and try to do my job," he said.
“Jamel is a great player,” he said of his teammate, who is also a redshirt freshman. “He was pushing me really hard. Now I’m just trying to get better and just keep working so I have to elevate my game more since he’s down. He was a big asset to the team.”
A former high school running back, Davis has impressed his coaches since first stepping on the practice field with the Tigers. Now with a year under his belt, the 5-10, 182-pounder is a player who Coach Gus Mazahn said his team believes in because of what he shows day in and day out.
“He was extremely talented, even last year when we redshirted him,” Malzahn said. “He had a great spring. He is more confident and he can really run. He is super fast, probably our fastest.”
One of the most important things working in the cornerback's favor heading into this season is having fifth-year senior Josh Holsey to learn from. A very smart player who has seen action at safety and nickel cornerback in addition to corner, Holsey is working behind the freshman at the moment and Davis said that’s a huge plus for him.
“Josh is a veteran,” Davis said. “He stays on me and pushes me. He has been through this so he knows how the game is going to go. He will tell me what the receiver is going to do before they even do it. Me and him, we’re always watching film together. He helps me a lot.”
That experienced voice is important for his development, but Davis said even as important is having good friends Carlton Davis and Jeremiah Dinson to lean on as well. With both having playing time under their belts, he noted that their advice has been beneficial. Dinson played extensively last year, but is expected to redshirt this season while recovering from injuries suffered vs. Texas A&M.
“That helped me tremendously because they’re my two main cats,” Davis said of getting help from Davis and Dinson. “I’m around them a lot. I talk to them after every game and they were telling me just to stay focused and keep working. Eventually I knew I was going to be out there so I just had to get ready.”
Working on improving his technique to help him deal with bigger and more physical wide receivers, Davis said he understands what is coming his way when Clemson comes to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 3 for the season opener. With talented Carlton Davis on the other side teams will challenge him over and over until he proves he is up to the task.
That’s something that not only will Davis have to answer, but his team as well. With Clemson coming in as the No. 2 team in the country Auburn will have its hands full, but he said they’re ready to show what they can do.
“It’s a big opportunity for us,” Davis said. “We’re going to be ready.”