After an offseason spent battling Brandon Wilds for the starting job in South Carolina's backfield, sophomore Mike Davis has officially earned the nod for Week 1 against UNC.
Josh Kendall of The State tweeted the news on Tuesday afternoon:
Mike Davis officially named Game 1 starter at RB.— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) August 20, 2013
Davis and fellow sophomore Wilds were listed as co-starters on the Gamecocks' preseason depth chart, and both will still see time in the backfield. But this decree is a sign that Steve Spurrier knows who his main guy is, and who it will be during crunch time.
A shifty-but-stocky tailback from Stone Mountain, Ga., Davis was a consensus 4-star recruit in the Class of 2012. He rushed for 289 yards on 52 carries last year, mostly in spot duty behind Marcus Lattimore and (later) Kenny Miles.
Now a true sophomore, Davis steps into the spotlight for a team the AP voted sixth best in America. With underrated quarterback Connor Shaw and, perhaps, the best offensive line Spurrier has ever coached in Columbia, he will be expected to produce at a high level immediately.
Davis has made some off-the-field noise this offseason, most notably with his candid Twitter account. He had some harsh words for Ohio State's Carlos Hyde after he was arrested for allegedly hitting a woman, and later, in July, said he would stay off Twitter to focus on the upcoming season.
About to delete this twitter app time to get focused on the season— Mike Davis (@Mike28davis) July 27, 2013
Needless to say, that didn't happen.
But none of that should matter once the season gets going, nor does it matter now.
Other than the one Carlos Hyde tweet, Davis' Twitter actions are usually benign. His head appears to be in the right place, and in order to beat out Brandon Wilds (a talented running back in his own right), his game appears to be too.
There won't be any time for Davis to ease into his new role, though. USC opens with games against North Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt—all of whom were ranked in the coaches poll top 37.