Davis living up to high expectations

Several days removed from the celebration of Saturday night's victory, Erik Davis still can't help but smile when you ask him about the Catch. It wasn't even a touchdown catch, but in many ways it was far sweeter—it was simply the most clutch play in recent memory for this Vanderbilt football team.

Trailing by three with time winding down, and faced with a do-or-die fourth-and-10 situation, the senior receiver cemented his status as a big-time playmaker with a spectacular 19-yard snag. By making the Catch, Davis salvaged the Dores' dwindling hopes and kept them in the fight—and the rest is history.

And so Davis, or "E Diddy" as he is sometimes called, has every reason to smile, knowing that opportunities like that only come around every so often.

"I just didn't want to let my teammates down," Davis said. "I had a few costly drops earlier in the game, so it dawned on me to let it burn inside, to let that fuel me so it doesn't happen again. I was given a great opportunity to make a play and I took advantage of it."

As one of the closest teammates to the late Kwane Doster, Davis is acutely aware of just how valuable these opportunities are. If there is any way to gain more inspiration from the memory of his departed friend, Davis just might gain it in the pre-game tribute to Doster planned for Saturday's home-opening contest against Ole Miss.

"It has all the significance in the world," Davis said. "It's so good to know that he has left a legacy, that he'll never be forgotten. It's going to have a huge impact on me and especially on his family, who'll be in town."

If that impact incites Davis to perform any better, he could be in for a career day against the Rebels. The Nashville native is coming off a career-high seven receptions against Arkansas, bringing his total to a team-leading 13 catches after two games. He also leads the team in receiving yards with 169 so far this season.

"Erik is playing really well right now," Jay Cutler said. "He's a little banged up but he keeps on fighting. I've been playing with him here from the start, so I'd say we're on the same page."

The only thing missing from his impressive statistical output thus far is a touchdown. But at this early juncture in the season, Davis finds little reason to dwell on that.

"That'll come, you can't rush things like that," Davis said. "I know I'll have my chances to make a big play. Right now we've got some other receivers making big plays. Earl Bennett is having a great coming out party as a freshman, and Slim (Marlon White) is having his own coming out party, too. I don't think it's a drop-off for me, I know I'll have my time."

As no stranger to individual success, Davis has good reason to be confident. After a pair of stellar campaigns the last two season, he stands right now as the SEC's active leader in receiving yards (1,317) and touchdown receptions (11). Even when he attended Nashville's Ezell-Harding Christian School (where he also played basketball with Vandy forward Julian Terrell), Davis scored 33 touchdowns as a senior to lead his team to an undefeated season and a state title.

Considering the newfound success that the Commodores have had, jumping out to a 2-0 start without even playing at home, Davis could not have asked for a better start to his final season. With three tough seasons under his belt to put it all in perspective, Davis feels that overconfidence is hardly a problem going into Saturday's game.

"Right now we are more humble and grateful than confident," he said. "It's the first time in a long time we've had this kind of success, so we're going to ride it until the wheels fall off."

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With Davis playing up to the level of the preseason hype surrounding him, the Dores might even have the chance to ride that success all the way to a bowl game. As great a sendoff as that would be for the senior, it would be even better as a way to honor the memory of one of his closest friends and teammates.

WR Erik Davis (B. Wiseman / VandyMania)

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