Jets' Special Teams Coach Praises Ashtyn Davis' Skills on Kickoffs

Ashtyn Davis (27) was a productive kick returner at CalPhoto by Jennifer Buchanan - USA TODAY Sports

Jake Curtis

Former Cal safety Ashtyn Davis seems likely to get playing time as a defensive back at some point in his NFL career, but the words of New York Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer in a recent Jets video suggest the team believes Davis can contribute immediately as a special teams player.

Davis, who came to Cal as a walk-on, was taken by the Jets in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft, and Davis' special teams' skills no doubt influenced their draft thoughts.

Cal fans recall Davis' ability to consistently give the Bears good field position with his kickoff returns, and when he was relieved of that duty late in the 2019 season because of his nagging groin injury it hurt Cal.

"No. 1, he displayed throughout his career, he displayed really good hands, didn't put many balls on the ground," Boyer said while a video of a Davis return was shown. "And, you know, there is no hesitation; you don't watch his feet patter, and lot of returners will get into the traffic now, and they'll stutter their feet, and they'll slow down. You don't see that with this kid, and he breaks a ton of tackles."

***Click here to watch the entire video of Boyer talking about Davis

The next highlight shows Davis returning a kickoff that takes him near the sideline, but he decides to return it. Boyer notes it is difficult to return a kickoff when pinned close to the sideline, and Davis then hurdles a would-be defender before being knocked out of bounds.

"Then you see the athleticism here where he jumps over the player, and fights for extra yards," Boyer said. "A lot of players will run out of bounds right there, and they won't fight for those extra yards. There's no quit in this kid at all; that's why I really like this guy."

Boyer also lauds Davis' work on kickoff coverage, which he did only occasionally at Cal. Davis' ability to get down the field quickly and break up the plans of the return team impressed Boyer.

"That's what you want from a penetrating (player)," Boyer said.

Davis' ability to perform well on special teams while still being an every-down defensive player racks up points in Boyer's book.

"That is the kind of dog mentality you look for, at least for me," Boyer said. "Those are the kind of guys I want on my teams."

The unsettled situation regarding the Jets' Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams could affect Davis' playing time on defense in 2020, but it seems likely that he will be on the field for kickoffs.

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

The best punt coverage special teams performer ever on Cal, one who basically never permitted a punt return? Jahvid Best, freshman year. He'd beat the ball down the field every time.