Like many of you, I first heard the name Britt Davis a few days ago when the media reported he was in the running to make the team as a wide receiver. I was able to ask Mike of Red and Black Attack, SB Nation's Northern Illinois blog, a few questions to learn about what Davis brings to the table.
GGN: Could you provide a brief bio on Davis' time at NIU?
Mike: Britt Davis came storming in to Northern Illinois back in 2004 as our most highly-ranked recruit ever at the time, turning down an offer to play for the high-powered Indiana offense. Davis was actually recruited as a quarterback in high school, ranking as the #23 dual-threat QB in the nation by Rivals.com. Our coach at the time decided that the way we could get his talent and speed on the field as soon as possible was to put him at WR, never looking back since. He debuted against Michigan in the Big House and set NIU freshman records with 42 receptions for 441 yds and 3 TDs.
Interestingly enough, his sophomore year was the best that he had at Northern Illinois, raking in 57 catches for 731 yds and 3 TDs. He also returned kickoffs that year. 2007 started up and we not only lost our starting QB, but we also lost all-world RB Garrett Wolfe (currently of the Chicago Bears) to provide a credible rushing threat. Britt was named captain that year as only a junior, but shoulder injuries plus the reasons I stated above led him to only finishing with 33 catches for 391 yds.
Before his senior year, Davis had shoulder surgery and I don't believe he ever fully recovered from that. Add in a coaching change and another new starting QB (a freshman) and you end up with a season with only 14 catches for 113 receiving yards. However if you add up his stats from all four years, he places 5th on NIU's all-time receiving list with 146 catches for 1,676 yds. Go figure.
GGN: What kind skills does he have? Does he profile as a vertical threat, a possession receiver, a shifty slot guy, etc.
Mike: Britt provides a good threat on the outside with his 6'3" frame. He's not going to be a shifty slot guy because he has just average agility. He ran a 4.5 at his pro day so he's got some wheels to make things happen down field, rather than being the possession type. He has tremendous quickness and is a threat to get by guys and dominate the jump ball because of his size. A strong red-zone threat.
GGN: Did Davis do any work on special teams? Do you think he could contribute there in any capacity?
Mike: Like I said, he did return quite a few kickoffs his sophomore year at NIU so he could be a threat there. Not sure how he'd do as a gunner on kickoff or punt coverage though.
GGN: What makes you think Davis will turn into a good pro?
Mike: I think Davis will be a good pro because he has always had the tools to be a receiver in the next level. The problem is that he was never able to put together all of his natural athletic ability to be a consistent contributor on the college level. He has the speed and quickness to succeed and certainly looks like an NFL receiver at 6'3" 205.
GGN: What concerns you that Davis will not be a good pro?
Mike: Going off of the last answer: Will he or will he not live up to his true potential? The talent is there, but he needs to work hard in camp and develop his fundamentals just a little bit more. His route running is just OK and his hands are...let's just say right below average. It's kind of a running joke among Huskie fans about how Britt drops easy balls at crucial moments and then makes diving, one-handed catches at points in the game that doesn't matter. Hopefully he can improve his concentration and overcome this stigma, but its always been there.
How good is SB Nation that we actually have an expert on Northern Illinois sports we can go to for questions like this? A big thanks to Mike for taking the time to answer these and give us the goods on Davis.