Sept. 25, 2006
It just so happened that there were two players named Chris Davis who were prep football standouts in the city of St. Petersburg, Fla., and who both wore the same number for their respective high school teams. Both players were very good; they earned all-conference and all-area honors and became stars in the Atlantic Coast Conference. One Chris was a high school quarterback and the other Chris was a wide receiver. One Chris would choose to be a star at Florida State and the other Chris became a star at Wake Forest.
On any Friday night in St. Petersburg, recruiters from all over the country came to see Chris Davis play. But which Chris Davis were they coming to see and evaluate? Were they coming to see the Chris Davis at St. Petersburg Catholic or where they coming see the Chris Davis at Gibbs High School?
Fortunately for the Florida State football team, the Seminole recruiters were coming to watch the Chris Davis at St. Petersburg Catholic. A high school All-America and All-USA Today First-Team selection in 2001, Davis was considered to be the best prep athlete in the nation during his senior season. A pre-season All-ACC selection as a Seminole in 2006,
Davis is a Biletnikoff Award candidate who has developed into one of the top receivers in school history. He is on the verge of becoming only the 20th player in school history with 100 or more career receptions.
Not coincidentally, the two Chris’s were close friends.
“We were good friends and considered each other to be cousins,” Davis said. “We grew up together and thought about going to school together. We had played football together since we were seven and up until we went to different high schools. We wanted to stay together in college but we decided for our own reasons to go to different schools.”
After totaling more than 3,000 yards of total offense at the quarterback position during his senior season in high school, Davis decided to attend Florida State knowing full well he would become a receiver once he became a Seminole. He grew up idolizing Seminole All-American Peter Warrick, and even while playing quarterback, emulated him as he rushed for nearly 1,600 yards and scored 43 touch-downs.
Davis matched Warrick’s athletic ability as he averaged 43 yards on kickoff returns and returned two kicks and two punts for touch-downs.
“Whenever I wasn’t in a high school game, I always played receiver and knew I could play the position in college,” Davis said. “When I wasn’t playing for my high school team, I wanted to do something different; I wanted to make
something happen whenever I got the ball in my hands. So I played receiver whenever my friends and I got together to play in the park or on the street.”
Davis has made many things happen since his arrival at Florida State and has developed into one of the Seminoles’ most exciting players. He has averaged more than 13 yards per catch during his career and is a threat to score each time he touches the ball. Davis led the Seminoles in both receptions (51) and receiving yards (1,158) and caught a career-high five touchdown passes in 2005.
Despite his lofty statistics and ability as a possession receiver, some of Davis’ value to the Seminole offense might come on the plays for which he does not get statistical credit.
“The many things Chris Davis does for our offense will never show up in a statistic sheet or on a highlight reel,” offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said. “His drive in practice to become a better receiver literally forces our other receivers to become better at everything they do and his presence in games allows other receivers on the field to get open because defenders have to pay so much attention to him.”
His ability to help the offense work without touching the ball is something Bowden feels will help Davis be successful at the next level.
“He is the type of receiver that can beat you with or without the ball in his hands,” Bowden continued. “On one play he can take one or two defenders with him and away from De’Cody (Fagg) or Greg (Carr) so they can make a play, and on the next play he can go over the middle for an important catch or down the field for a touchdown. His ability to make things happen on punt returns also makes him an extremely valuable player.”
Davis sees himself as part of the team first and as part of the receiving corps second.
“I don’t think an opposing team can scheme for just one receiver or just one player,” Davis said. “I think we have too many weapons to do that. An opponent’s scheme better be for everything; they had better have all of the ground covered.”
Above all, Davis considers himself to be a playmaker.
“If the defense chooses to double-cover me, that’s their mistake,” Davis said. “If they choose to do that, or if they choose to send a linebacker with me or one of the receivers, all we have to do is execute and we will be successful.”
There are many types of receivers and Davis fits just about every category. He is a strong possession receiver, a speed burner who can catch anything he can get his hands on and he is more than willing to go over the middle and
make the tough catch.
“If I have to be a decoy on one play and a route runner on the next play, that’s what I am willing to do to help our team be successful,” said Davis. “If I have to work to find open spots or penetrate the defense for one of our quarterbacks
to find me, that’s what I’m going to do.
And if I have to pull a defender from another one of our receivers to get closer or into the end zone, that’s what I am going to work to do.”
College coaches are no longer mistaking Chris Davis for Chris Davis. Fortunately for Florida State, the Chris Davis who has flourished as a Seminole made no mistake when he made his choice to spend Saturdays in the Sunshine State and not on Tobacco Road.
By Chuck Walsh Florida State Sports Information