Courtesy of BYU Football/BYU Photo

BYU sophomore receiver Akile Davis says that he believes the BYU wide receivers will make a bombastic impact in 2017

BYU sophomore receiver Akile Davis is on the rise and making noise in spring camp. Over the past couple of years BYU’s receiving corps featured more in the height department. This year’s group of pass catchers might not be as tall but they’re faster and more athletic.

The X-receiver spot at BYU is being hotly contested by two competitors. One is senior Jonah Trinnaman and the other is sophomore Akile Davis. According to Trinnaman in a previous article, both had been getting first team reps during spring camp. Now as camp winds down Davis is behind Trinnaman trying to unseat him as the starter.

“When I come out here I’m behind Jonah [Trinnaman] and I’m trying to take his job, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be,” said Davis. “Right now I’m competing with him on the outside position and it’s a battle. Anything he does I’m going to try and do it 100 times better to get that spot. Anything comes my way I’m going up and getting it.”

At the Z-receiver position Talon Shumway has maintained a starting spot on that side of the field throughout camp. Shumway has been all over the field making plays both in short and deep routes.

“Talon Shumway is playing on the other side at the Z-receiver spot and he’s been lighting it up over spring,” said Davis. “Talon is a really good player because he’s really quick and has good hands. He’s really athletic and aggressive and gets after it when the ball is in the air. He’s a baller.”

Behind Shumway is speedy junior Beau Tanner. Tanner is a transfer from Scottsdale Community College with a reputation of being very fast.

“Oh yeah, Tanner can run,” said Davis. “He’s a speedster who can stretch the field. He hasn’t had as much time in the system as the rest of us so he’s still learning, but he can really stretch a defense and take it to the house. There’s no question about that and that’s the way it is with all of us.”

At the slot position, Micah Simon has taken over in the place of Aleva Hifo, who is currently rehabbing from shoulder surgery.

“There will be a battle for the slot position when Aleva comes back,” said Davis. “Micah has been playing mostly in the slot and holding it down over spring camp, but when Aleva gets back there will be a two really good, quick receivers there.”

“We used to have tall receivers over the past couple of years, but now we’ve got receivers that can run and have more speed,” said Davis. “In the past we had height and finesse, but this year we have speed and quickness. This year we’re coming out with a boom! That’s all I can say is we’re coming out with a boom!”

With more speed running routes, Akile Davis believes BYU fans will see more downfield passes with more big explosive plays being made.

“BYU fans can expect us to come out catching more deep balls and speed,” Davis said. “That’s what they can expect. They can expect more speed and excitement. We have more chemistry with the quarterbacks this year from Tanner all the way down to the walk-ons because we’ve had more experience with them. They know what we’re going to do on a specific route and we know what they’re looking at. I told Tanner [Mangum] today, ‘Anytime you throw it up to me I’m coming down with it.’ He was like, ‘Oh I know you will.’”

To help facilitate deeper routes, BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer expressed in previous interviews an emphasis on shoring up the pass blocking in order to give Tanner Mangum more time in the pocket and also to allow the deeper routes to develop. BYU wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon has placed an emphasis on helping his speedy receivers run sharper routes in order to get down field much quicker.

“Over spring camp I’ve been working to sharpen up my routes,” Davis said. “Coach Cahoon is really big on that. He wants us to perfect the little things so those little things become natural for us. One of those little things is getting depth on routes, footwork, cleaning up wasted movements. He’s big on no wasted movements and big on technique.”

Davis believes the work that he’s put in and the help of Coach Cahoon have helped him make major strides as a receiver.

“Oh. most definitely!” said Davis. “I was horrible at coming back for the ball and keeping my feet down and staying low, but he’s been on me and especially Coach Sitake. He’s always on me. Out of anybody here Coach Sitake is the one that’s always yelling at me.”

Joining Coach Cahoon in the chorus of yells, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake has also been a major voice in making sure Akile Davis and the rest of the receivers execute their assignments.  

“He’s on me more than anybody. If you hear him yelling it’s probably me, especially about ball security because when I catch the ball I’m ready to do something with it. I’m ready to dig out and get out hard and down field like the rest of us out here working. It’s going to be a good year for receivers because there’s been a big focus on making sure we do things right, and the good thing is we have the speed to get it done right fast.”

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