This is the second of a five-part series on Texas players with the potential to change the course of the Longhorns' 2013 season. The No. 4 player on this year's list: Senior wide receiver Mike Davis.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Mike Davis doesn’t usually get talked up as one of the best wide receivers in Texas history. Statistically, he will be.
You don’t need to dive into the record books to know the Longhorns haven’t historically been known for big-time receivers. Jordan Shipley and Roy Williams sit comfortably atop most of the school’s career stat lists.
But Davis, entering his fourth and final season as a starter, has a chance to join them. He only needs 64 receptions and 1,006 receiving yards this fall to vault to No. 3 on both all-time lists at Texas.
Considering Texas is converting to an up-tempo offense with more receivers on the field and more plays per game, neither feat is impossible for the wideout who likes to call himself “Magic.”
“I have goals for myself,” Davis said. “I think it’s about helping the team win. It’s not really about me. I think about the team and getting everything done and winning all the games.”
Davis is as explosive a receiver as the Big 12 has to offer this year. On his seven touchdown catches last season, he averaged 41.1 yards per reception. Among wideouts with more than five scores, only Baylor’s Tevin Reese (51.2) can top that average.
And when you get the ball in Davis’ hands, it usually means instant offense. More than half of his receptions in 2012 went for first downs, and Texas ended its offensive drive with a score on 42 of his 57 catches.
He enjoyed big moments as a junior -- the game-saving catch vs. Oklahoma State, his stiff arm-and-score at Ole Miss, the long-ball scores to knock off Texas Tech -- and put up big numbers. How good can Davis be in 2013?
On Jan. 10, after telling teammates at the Alamo Bowl that he wasn’t going anywhere, Davis declared he was entering the NFL draft. He changed his mind later that day, but the move was still a bit stunning at the time.
Davis just wanted to test the draft waters. He’s that serious about his NFL future. Coming back for one more year provides him an opportunity to take the next step and become one of the nation’s best at his position.
Even when he sat out the first week of practices, Davis found other ways to help. He’s becoming more of a mentor to Texas’ freshman and sophomore wideouts and frequently pulled them aside in the first days of practice to talk route-running technique.
“I’m a senior, so I’m kind of like a coach too,” Davis said. “When I was out, I loved working with them. They listen, so it makes it better for me. When they’re out there making plays and having fun and doing everything right, it makes me proud of myself.”
Quietly, he’s become one of the Longhorns’ more respected veterans. He’ll continue to guide Kendall Sanders, Daje Johnson, Marcus Johnson and the rest of the young wideouts entrusted to complement Davis and Jaxon Shipley.
Shipley might be considered more of the go-to receiver of the duo, but it’s Davis who got more targets in the passing game with 86 last fall. He knows he won’t catch defenses by surprise anymore, but that’s not a problem as long as he’s still outrunning corners and safeties.
Davis did think about going pro a year early. But there was just too much unfinished business he had to take care of first.
“I look at that like, I’ve got plays left on the field that have got to be made, wins that I want,” Davis said. “I just want to win them all, when it all comes down to it. I feel like I owe the school that and coach Brown, coaches, players, the city and the fans.”