The struggle has been real for Notre Dame’s Avery Davis.
That’s why Davis is so happy about how his final season at Notre Dame is playing out.
Davis, a 5-11 wide receiver, has turned into a go-to target for Irish quarterbacks. Davis has caught 18 passes for 307 yards with two touchdowns.
On the final TD scoring drive against Virginia Tech, Davis caught two passes for 27 yards from Jack Coan. His final reception in the drive was a 4-yard TD pass from Coan.
Five years ago, when Davis arrived at Notre Dame from Texas as a four-star dual threat quarterback, according to 247Sports.
Davis had never played another position in high school. It was what he intended to play in college.
There was one big problem.
His name was Ian Book. Book and Davis arrived together in 2016 but their paths quickly diverged when Book took over permanently as the starting quarterback in 2018. Book, the winningest quarterback in Notre Dame history, set a record for career completion percentages (63.8%) and interception rate (1.8)
Davis had to stumble through a series of position changes before he found a home at wide receiver.
It was a humbling, sometimes frustrating, ultimately fulfilling journey that he wouldn’t change.
“There have been a lot of ups and a lot of downs,” he said. “It’s been an incredible journey that I am grateful for. I learned a lot about myself. There were times I was like, ‘Why do I do this? Why did I come here? Just questioning myself. Calling my mom because I was just frustrated. Just going through all that but coming out of it on the other side. I’m finally starting to get success and finally starting to do things that were on my bucket list. Seeing everything unfold on the back end is awesome.”
Davis has been slotted at quarterback, running back, defensive back and finally wide receiver.
He made the permanent switch to wide receiver at the end of his junior season. He was officially a wide receiver when Notre Dame played Stanford in 2019.
The low point for him was when he played defensive back.
He said it was “like learning Chinese. It was completely different from what I’d been doing.”
Davis said he knew that playing in the secondary was a bad fit for him during the spring game in his sophomore year.
“I didn’t play until the end of the game,” he said. “I had played all spring but I had lost every single rep I took. That was very frustrating. I had been a winner my whole life. I had always had success. Going as hard as you can and still failing play after play and rep after rep and feeling like you weren’t getting any better was really tough.”
It didn’t take Davis long to get good at receiver.
He caught 24 passes for 322 yards with two touchdowns in 2020. His best game this year was against Purdue when he caught five passes for 120 yards. One of those receptions was a 62-yard TD pass from Jack Coan.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said that Davis is a crafty, experienced player that the quarterbacks favor particularly on third-down when the team needs a play.
“He’s just a veteran player,” Kelly said. “He’s in a position at the slot that gets matched up quite a bit with linebackers. It’s the nature of the position. We were playing without our best offensive player, Michael Mayer, against Virginia Tech so he got targeted quite a bit. I think our guys are pretty confident in getting him the ball or Braden Lenzy or Mayer or Kevin Austin.
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