If you aren't familiar with the name Charlie Jones, well, you probably shouldn't feel real bad. Unless you are a diehard San Diego Charger fan that is. From Lemore high school, wide receiver Charlie Jones made it to the Chargers, stopping off at Fresno State along the way.
While at Lemore, Charlie set the single-season mark of receiving yards in a year, catching for just over 700 yards. As a Sophomore, Davis Ausberry broke that record, almost breaking 800.
Ahem, I said as a Sophomore.
At 6'4" and right around 200 lbs., David certainly has the size to be an effective wideout, but you combine that with his reported 4.5 speed and his range goes from serviceable to downright deadly. That's just part of the strengths that propelled the young Ausberry to an almost 20 yard average per catch. "I'd like to think I can do a little of everything," David said. "I have the speed to stretch the field, but I am able to get the ball short and take it down the field."
Likening himself to Plaxico Burress of the Pittsburgh Steelers, David saw his role in his ideal offense of being someone that was able to make the best plays at the big moments. That was what made his junior year so frustrating, because while there were plenty of big moments, Ausberry was never at his best. "I fought it almost the entire season," he said. "I played through it, but you can do what you want to do and aren't able to cut or do anything like you did it before."
Lemore's team was saved by the fact that they had one of the best running games in the region, Leemore actually rushing for over 600 yards in one game. That's little consolation for any wide receiver, though, because while wins mean more than anything, everyone still wants to make a play. "I am glad no matter what as long as we win," David said. "That's what matters, but after my sophomore year, you want to be more a part of how you are winning the games."
That's the goal this year, David looking to compliment a team that will probably hinge more on the passing game than in recent years. It's a chance that he's looking forward to as his final year is his year to shine. "I'm excited to get out there and do what I know I can do," he said. "Really, the season can't come soon enough."
It probably can't come soon enough for the colleges recruiting him, David already feeling the mailbox crunch as letters come in by the droves. Of course, if you are a player in California worth your salt, there's one letter that inevitably comes in the box; USC.
Not difficult to imagine who David grew up watching as any self-respecting California kid would. Ausberry does have an obvious affection for the team, but due to the fact that he's not originally from the Golden State, the teams he's followed ranges a broader spectrum. "Well, I was born in Ohio, so I have always like following Ohio State," he said. "And, my best friend and I grew up watching Nebraska every Saturday when they were winning all those games."
"USC is obviously a big favorite around here, because it's just a great program, but it's not the only team that I like."
It's not a coincidence that all three are teams that have sent him letters. That's not a headline, though, as you can throw quite a few more on the list. Oregon, Fresno State, Stanford and more have been sending him the brochures, the media guides and anything else that a school might normally send.
And, one has already offered. "I have an offer from Nebraska," David said. "It was pretty cool, because it's your first offer and I know a lot about their tradition. They've got a different staff there now, but a program like that, it's just got a great history around it."
That sole offer has obviously made David take a much closer look at the Huskers, but for someone, who just finished his junior year, he's not thinking too far ahead. Based on the interest he's seen thus far, David smiles when he thinks about the future, but not because of the possible schools courting him, rather his opportunity to show that everyone should have started much sooner. "It's almost like losing a year," David said of dealing with the injury all last season. "You get hungry to get out there and show what you can do and that's what I plan to do this season."
"I'm not all about my numbers, because the wins are what matters, but I can't wait to get into a season totally healthy, because that's when I can make the biggest impact."
As to the recruiting that will inevitably follow if David does indeed make that projected impact, he's not worried at all. "I have heard stories about what it's like and what it will be like," he said. "but, I'm not real concerned right now. I am just going to try and have fun with it and take everything in stride."
Needless to say, I asked David if at this point he could name any favorites and while we all know it's early and he said as much, he had Nebraska, USC, Fresno State and Ohio State on his list.
But, it's a pretty fluid list.
"It's a long time before all that stuff really matters," he said. "Who knows where I will be come this time next year. I guess we'll find out."