Avery Davis had to wait longer than some for his turn as Cedar Hill High School starting quarterback.
A year ago Cedar Hill was still fresh off a Texas state title and ultimately en route to another one with Justin McMillan, an eventual LSU signee, as its starting quarterback. Davis played some, including throughout the playoff run, but had to wait for the full-time spotlight.
Davis answered the call during his junior season in a big way.
He completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,148 yards and 25 touchdowns against just four interceptions. Davis also ran for 873 yards and another 13 touchdowns.
“His mom might say she’s the biggest Avery Davis fan but she’d have a tough time competing with me,” said Cedar Hill head coach Joey McGuire. “There are not enough words to describe Avery Davis in my eyes. I think he’s an incredible person. The young man is a straight A student. He leads by example. He’s one of the hardest working kids that I’ve ever coached. Then he leads verbally and through all his action. He’s a freak of an athlete.”
Davis helped Cedar Hill to a 9-2 record this season with the second loss coming in the first round of the playoffs against fellow powerhouse Southlake Carroll, an early matchup against two teams expected to contend for another state championship.
Turning in the pads earlier than expected didn’t sit well with Davis, a four-star prospect ranked No. 94 overall in the latest Scout.com rankings.
“We went 9-2 this year and those two losses are the only time he’s ever lost on the football field at any level,” McGuire said. “When you have that kind of presence and that kind of makeup, people follow you. The good thing about him is he works constantly on being the kind of person we want people to follow. It’s kinda been a mixture of him learning to do that and some natural stuff also.”
Hours after that playoff loss, Davis turned his attention to recruiting by piling in the car with his family for a 15-hour drive north to Notre Dame for its home finale against Wake Forest.
Notre Dame counts itself among the early scholarship offers to Davis along with Colorado, Kansas, Oregon State, SMU, Texas Tech, Tulsa and Utah State.
Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma State and TCU have expressed interest at different points.
McGuire has a relationship with the Irish staff dating back a few years to former defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks, now at Oklahoma. McGuire toured campus a few summers ago and Cedar Hill hosted a youth camp for Brian Kelly last summer.
Davis hit the Notre Dame radar through McGuire’s suggestion to the staff with a follow-up visit by offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford last month.
“I think that they were very interested early,” McGuire said. “Then the quarterbacks coach came out and watched us go through our game plan. I don’t think a ball hit the ground going through that 50-minute game prep practice. He really liked what he saw. Avery is that kind of kid as far as what Notre Dame prides itself on and what their student body is, the type of people they want at that university. Avery really fits that mold. I thought it was a good deal.”
Sanford offered a scholarship after watching that workout. Davis then quickly set up the unofficial visit.
“I know he loved it,” McGuire said. “He had a Notre Dame hoodie on (Tuesday). His mom went to Purdue and his granddad is from that area. I think there’s some things they felt good about, really felt good about.”
There’s a chance Notre Dame could be the spot for Davis, perhaps sooner than later.
Regional programs TCU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas already have quarterback commitments in the Class of 2017. Tennessee, Oregon, Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Penn State, Auburn and Ohio State can all say the same.
More than ever, quarterbacks are finding their spots early in the recruiting process. Davis and the Irish staff have each shown a sense of urgency with that being the case.
“I think at that position those guys get nervous if they don’t get something locked in,” McGuire said. “I also think, I’m going to say it the best way I can, Avery Davis thinks he can play for anyone in the nation. I think he wants to play for a big-time program that has a chance to play for a national championship. I think that comes into effect too with Notre Dame.”