Virginia Tech Football: Marcus Davis Will Be a Star in 2012

Bryan ManningFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 26:  Marcus Davis #7 of the Virginia Tech Hokies runs with the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

When Marcus Davis entered the Virginia Tech football program in 2008, he was a quarterback. Davis, from Virginia Beach, Va., was one of the top players in the state as a senior for Ocean Lakes High School.

As a freshman, Davis decided to make the switch to wide receiver in order to get on the field faster. While Davis played quarterback in high school, he did play receiver his first three years.

Davis’ freshman campaign was cut short by a shoulder injury, but it became somewhat of a blessing in disguise for Davis.

As a redshirt freshman in 2009, Davis mostly saw the field on special teams. He played in 12 games overall and finished the season with five catches for 125 yards and one touchdown. His one touchdown was an 80-yard catch and run that displayed his outstanding athletic ability.

In 2010, Davis showed gradual improvement and even started two games at wide receiver. Playing time was hard to come by, being behind record-setting receivers Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale.

2011 was a breakout year of sorts for Davis. The Hokies made it a point to get him on the field more and, combined with nagging injuries to Boykin, Davis took advantage of his opportunity.

Davis played in all 14 games, starting eight. He finished the season with 30 catches for 510 yards and five touchdowns. At 17 yards per catch, Davis led the team. His five touchdown receptions also tied for the team lead.

So, with Boykin and Coale having completed their eligibility, Davis is now a starter. At 6’4” and 228 pounds, Davis runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds and under while possessing a vertical leap of up to 44 inches.

With junior quarterback Logan Thomas returning, Davis figures to play a vital role in the Hokies’ offense in 2012. The Hokies have eight new starters total on offense, so Thomas will rely on Davis and fellow senior receivers D.J. Coles and Dyrell Roberts.

Frank Beamer has always leaned heavily on the running game in his 25 years as head coach. But, Beamer will have four new starters on the offensive line and two freshmen atop the depth chart at running back.

Having a passer as talented as Thomas should force Beamer to open up the offense more further benefitting Davis.

Davis’ biggest issue in 2011 was drops. At times, Davis would look upfield before securing the ball, therefore leading to several drops. It isn’t as if Davis has bad hands—he’s just often looking for the big play. It is a concentration issue and reports out of Blacksburg indicate Davis was an active participant in the team’s offseason workouts.

The Hokies have had several good receivers over the years. Boykin, Coale, Antonio Freeman, Andre Davis and Bryan Still to name a few, but none has become a dominant star in the NFL. Freeman had a good career catching passes from the legendary Brett Favre, but he was never mentioned as one of the best receivers in the NFL.

Davis has the potential to change that.

Several factors benefit Davis. He is an extremely hard worker with amazing physical ability. He has shown a natural progression in his first three years that has to excite the coaching staff.

With the NFL now being a pass-first league, Davis has a chance to hear his name called early in next year’s draft. The Hokies will feature Davis a lot in 2012, as he is the team’s second-best offensive player behind Thomas.

Davis excels as a deep-ball threat, but the Hokies will look to feature him more underneath and let him use his speed after the catch.

2012 will be a big year for Marcus Davis. Will it be big enough to help carry the Hokies to another ACC title?

That remains to be seen, but the entire nation will know about Marcus Davis come November.