Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Days after tweeting that he was going to stay in Austin, the leading receiver for the 'Horns will reportedly take his magic to the NFL.
Things change fast in the world of sports. On Monday, Texas Longhorns junior wide receiver Mike Davis tweeted that he was going to stay for his senior season. On Thursday, ESPN's Joe Schad broke the news that Davis will enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
What happened in those days? It's possible that Davis had finally received his draft grade back from the NFL and heard what he wanted to hear. In fact, Davis told Schad that he's been projected as a third-round draft pick.
Schad revealed a couple other reasons why the 6-1, 195-pound wide receiver wanted to leave:
Mike Davis: "This is about my family and finances. It’s a good time to take it to the next level. I enjoyed my time playing for Texas."— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) January 10, 2013
The obvious question for Texas fans is how well he projects to the NFL. Known more as a sneaky athlete than an outstanding athlete, Davis weighed in with why he thinks he can be successful:
Mike Davis: "I can be a big play, deep threat. I can stretch the field and run good routes and move the chains."— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) January 10, 2013
Following a massively disappointing sophomore season and facing questions about his future in the program, Davis rededicated himself to football in the offseason and hauled in 57 catches for 937 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also improved significantly as a blocker.
As for the Longhorns, the loss is significant -- Davis was the primary deep threat for David Ash and had an uncommon knack for beating opponents on post routes. The dropoff in that regard could be huge next season unless Jaxon Shipley or another young receiver can emerge to fill that role. If they can to some extent, it's unlikely that they can completely replicate his skills.
Young receivers like Kendall Sanders, Marcus Johnson, and Cayleb Jones will need to step up, but they combined for only 4 catches in 2012 and saw relatively little playing time in the short rotation under Bryan Harsin. Jones, in particular, was reportedly unhappy behind the scenes about his playing time, but will now have a major opportunity to emerge in 2013.
The loss of Davis also increases the need to find another wide receiver with similar skills on the recruiting trail, though there are certainly no prospects in the 2013 class who are talented enough to fill the role held by Davis and still available.
Schad reports that Davis has not yet signed with an agent and he can return before the deadline if he does not sign, though the odds seem low given his reasons for leaving.