Davis ready to star at UNC

Aug. 18, 2014 @ 06:38 PM

The role North Carolina wide receiver Quinshad Davis is growing into fits him just fine and he likes it, too.

The junior from Gaffney, South Carolina, has emerged as the Tar Heels’ top receiver and his ready to lead the receiving corps no matter who is throwing the ball in their direction. He said is ready to catch passes thrown by either Marquise Williams or Mitch Trubisky.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Davis said. “I’m out there worrying about the defense and if the ball comes my way I am going to catch it. They’re competing for the same job so they’ve got to be able to do the same thing.”

Davis caught 61 passes as a freshman and 48 as a sophomore but his yardage totals from each season were similar _ 776 and 730, respectively.

Davis said as a freshman he was able to catch a lot of little short routes and dump offs. Last season he said he was able to get open on deeper routes and get his yardage that way.

“This year I want to work on my yards after catch,” Davis said. “Of course, I want to catch the ball and get down field but I can do whatever the team needs. If we need a first down, I can be a possession receiver. If we need a big play, I can do that.”

Davis, who now is 6-4 and 215 pounds, has added 30 pounds since his freshman season when he came in at a slim 185. With his improved strength, Davis hopes he can better fight off coverage, especially at the line of scrimmage. And with the loss of T.J. Thorpe, Davis knows he likely will be drawing the attention of more than one defensive back at a time this season.

Roommate and fellow wide receiver Kendrick Singleton said he seem Davis grow as a player on the team.

“Quinshad leads by example but trash talking gets him started,” Singleton said. “That makes him compete even more. Quinshad pushed me to get better. He’s had a great career and he’s going to get better.”

Davis said there isn’t any pressure being more of a leader this season.

“I’ve had to step it up because I am a junior and one of the older guys, now,” Davis said. “I’m not the biggest leader on the team but as far as my position on offense, I play an important role. The receivers know I’m not that big of a talker but I will lead them by example. I’ll show them how it’s done and expect them to do it.”

Trubisky said he’s enjoyed getting to know Davis.

“We built some really good chemistry over the summer,” Trubisky said. “I didn’t throw with him last year because he was playing and I was not. This summer we worked hard leading up to camp and that’s helped. He could be a go-to receiver and as good as he wants to be. We’ve got to get the ball in his hands.”

Davis, who was All-ACC honorable mention last season, goes into this season on the Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list for the nation’s best receiver. But the awards won’t matter much if Davis and the Tar Heels sputter out of the gate again.

“We saw what happened last year and we’ve got to make sure we set the example for the the younger guys so they know how things are going to work this year,” Davis said. “We want to make sure everything runs the right way.

“It’s a goal to start out fast but we have to take it one game at a time. We got beat last year because we looked over some teams. We don’t want to do that this year. We want to be real focused going into that game.”

NOTES _ UNC wrapped up is preseason camp practices on Monday by hitting the field twice. There is no on Tuesday and then the regular-season routine begins on Wednesday in preparation for the season opener against Liberty. ... Coach Larry Fedora said he was not prepared to name a starter at quarterback, yet. “We’ll know before (Aug. 30),” he said. “We’ll have a plan going in and (Marquise Williams and Mitch Trubisky) will know how to implement it. We won’t wait until the 30th and flip a coin to send one of them out there.”