wr davis eager for encore
ELY — After wide receiver Devante Davis had his breakout game at Louisiana Tech last season, opponents reacted by often assigning their top cornerbacks to cover him.
He gave them good reason to take notice, leading UNLV with 61 receptions for 854 yards and four touchdowns. Davis also became the first Rebel since 2009 to have more than one 100-yard receiving game in a season.
The success gave him confidence entering his junior season.
“I know that now my team and receiving corps will look at me to excel and do great, to get us going,” Davis said. “It will help me push forward into being a leader.”
Davis (6 feet 3 inches, 210 pounds) could be more consistent, and being surrounded by what appears to be a deeper group of receivers might help.
“I think (Davis) is a really good player, and we want to see that week in, week out,” coach Bobby Hauck said. “Consistency for a wide receiver in my mind isn’t the number of catches because the ball goes where it goes, and defenses have the capability of making it hard for one guy to get the ball.”
Davis showed the ability to take over when given the chance. He caught eight passes for 186 yards and a touchdown at Louisiana Tech in October.
“It boosted my confidence and made me feel like I can really dominate in college football,” said Davis, who is from Houston. “I just made a lot of plays, and my family was in the stands, so I felt like I had to kind of do something for them.”
His next major moment occurred in November against New Mexico. Davis caught seven passes for 145 yards, including a 75-yarder for a touchdown to close the third quarter and break open a game that UNLV won 35-7.
“It was a big play for our offense,” Davis said. “We really needed that.”
Sophomore quarterback Nick Sherry was intercepted on his first pass in the team drill Wednesday afternoon and then was switched to second team while senior Caleb Herring took over at starter. Sherry also threw three interceptions Tuesday, and he ended last season with seven over his final three starts. “The guy that doesn’t turn it over is going to be the starter, so we better clean it up or we’re going to have to make a change soon,” Hauck said. “That’s not what we can tolerate. If you tolerate, you encourage, so we’ve got to not throw the ball to the other team, or somebody else has got to play.” Hauck was asked how serious it would have to be to make a change. “I’m pretty serious right now,” he said. “But we won’t produce a depth chart till the first week, so who knows?” Junior cornerback Tajh Hasson stripped Davis just short of the goal line on a deep pass play and recovered the fumble. “I couldn’t give up on the play,” Hasson said. “He got me on the post route, and I just had to chase him down and go get the ball.” Hasson also intercepted a pass, his second in two days. “He’s becoming more consistent,” Hauck said. “He’s always had ability.” Sophomore defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga had three tackles for loss, including two sacks. Herring was robbed of two 59-yard touchdown passes. The first was on Hasson’s strip, and the second on a drop by open senior Jerry Rice Jr. Rice, however, later went high to make a difficult grab in the middle of four defenders. Senior running back Tim Cornett had to be carried off but soon was running and seemed to be fine. Hauck was asked if Cornett had injured his right foot or ankle. “I don’t even know,” Hauck said. “That’s how concerned I am. He looks like a British soccer star.”
MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL