ELY — UNLV football fans are accustomed to seeing senior wide receiver Devante Davis catch a touchdown pass, which he does often, and then have a low-key celebration in the end zone.
If he celebrates at all.
And that’s the way Davis will approach this season, but training camp has been different.
Davis celebrated a touchdown catch over the tight coverage from senior cornerback Kenneth Penny on Monday morning as if he had just clinched the Mountain West championship.
In the afternoon session, he caught a deep pass in stride for a touchdown and jumped onto a nearby hill and lay on the grass.
Earlier in camp, with the offense struggling, Davis scored a touchdown and strutted down the defensive sideline. That sparked the offense, which then grabbed momentum the remainder of practice.
”I’ve just got to find a way to have fun out there,” Davis said. “Playing football is obviously the game I love, so my emotions are going to come out.”
Davis (6 feet 3 inches, 215 pounds) has had plenty to celebrate this camp.
He has caught nearly every pass within reach, some spectacularly so. Davis is playing like the conference’s best receiver, and he is in at least the conversation for the top two.
As well as Davis is practicing, though, he isn’t satisfied. He pointed to areas that need improvement, such as getting off the line of scrimmage faster, and that he has missed opportunities to mentor younger players.
But he has made it a point to be more vocal with his teammates, which is a big step for the soft-spoken receiver.
“I was focused on being the leader this camp and making sure I show up on the field, so the guys will understand that if I ask them to do something, they’ll do it,” Davis said. “This camp, I wanted to focus on that. I feel like my camp was OK, but it could’ve been better.”
Coach Bobby Hauck said he will participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge following Wednesday’s afternoon practice. “Get as many buckets as you can,” Hauck told Davis, who was standing nearby. To which Davis responded, “Oh, we’re going to get you, Coach.” Hauck was recently challenged by Utah State coach Matt Wells to participate.
The challenge has become a nationwide phenomenon, reportedly raising more than $15 million since July 29 for the ALS Association. … Junior Anthony Williams (5-11, 190) is competing against freshmen Devonte Boyd (6-1, 175) and Kendal Keys (6-3, 200) for one of the wide receiver spots. But whoever starts might not truly matter. All three are expected to play, and throughout the receiving corps, six players should receive significant time. “I feel comfortable playing any one of those guys any time,” wide receivers coach Cedric Cormier said. “They’re going to all at one time or another help us win some games this year.” … Junior running back David Greene returned to practice after missing nearly a week because of what Hauck referred to as a pulled muscle. … Junior guard Nick Gstrein has had a difficult few days. He was socked in the man region earlier in the week, and on Monday morning he got poked in his left eye and had to wear sunglasses in the afternoon.
Wide receivers: This group is about more than Devante Davis. It’s deep and talented, and should give opponents plenty to think about.
Devante Davis, Sr., 6-3, 215
Devonte Boyd, Fr., 6-1, 175
Marcus Sullivan, Sr., 5-9, 195
Maika Mataele, Sr., 5-11, 180
Anthony Williams, Jr., 5-11, 190
Devonte Boyd, Fr., 6-1, 175
Kendal Keys, Fr., 6-3, 200
Player, Pos., Status
Brett Boyko, OL, Out
Nick Gstrein, OL, Limited
Phillip Haynes, OL, Out
Jack Killian, WR, Out
Jamal Overton, RB, Limited
Ron Scoggins, G, Out
Marcus Sullivan, WR, Out
MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL