Blue and Gold Illustrated

June July 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 28 of 63 JUNE/JULY 2018 29 ers. Prior to that, he was nicknamed "Slash," because of his utility role as a reserve quarterback/receiver/run- ning back in various situations. As the No. 3 quarterback, Davis found himself in a similar role this spring while incumbent Brandon Wimbush and Citrus Bowl standout Ian Book took the snaps with the first and second teams, respectively. Kelly was blunt with Davis about where he stood in the competition. "The conversation we had with Av- ery is, 'What do you want to do? You can stay in that position or we think you've got some talent to help our of- fense,'" Kelly said. "And he wanted to do this. He doesn't want to give up his ability to play quarterback down the road, but in the meantime … you need to play this year, and so this gives him that opportunity." The buy-in was not difficult for Da- vis, who at Cedar Hill (Texas) High enjoyed a stellar career as a dual- threat quarterback that earned him an invite to the Under Armour All- America Game. "It was kind of a mutual agree- ment," Davis remembered. "He came to me with the idea and I was already kind of thinking like that. My [2017] regular season was tough not play- ing, just watching, while knowing that you can help in other ways … I'm thrilled for the opportunity." As a high school junior, Davis rushed for 1,007 yards and 14 touch- downs, so maneuverability and car- rying the ball were not alien to him when he spent part of practice work- ing with running backs coach Au- try Denson and then also wideouts coach Alexander. "I feel like I have good hands — I feel like quarterbacks naturally have good hands," Davis said. "But it's different when you're running a route and catching it. "The first couple of practices I was dropping stuff, but once I got used to it, it's fun and it's not hard." For a quarterback recruit, the slightest hint of a position change often is an impetus to transfer to an- other school where he can call the signals. For Davis, whose leadership traits were most extolled at Cedar Hills, he did not take offense, so to speak. "It's probably easy to get butt hurt, but I just knew that I could help the team and I didn't want to be self- ish," he said. "I feel like me being on the sidelines knowing that I can con- tribute — and knowing the coaches feel the same way — that would be kind of selfish of me [to not help else- where]. "I didn't take it personal. I took it as an opportunity to get on the field." "He's an explosive young man who picks things up really quick," offensive coordinator Chip Long said the final week of spring drills. "He has good instincts as a route runner … makes guys miss. "He's really kind of surpassed my expectations. I believe this last week he has been [our] most explosive player." Building up his body will be a pri- ority over the summer because of the physicality in taking more hits and blocking as a running back and receiver. There is one role that will remain innate with Davis as a quarterback. "I'll take the leadership role with me because I've been a leader pretty much my whole life," Davis said. "I know I'm at a different position, but I know I can still lead in different ways. That will never leave me." Positions can change, but leader- ship remains a constant. ✦ In the Blue-Gold Game, Armstrong rushed for a 25-yard touchdown while racking up 50 yards on six car- ries and 21 yards on one catch. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL "They are definitely pieces to this offensive system that we missed at times last year. I think it gives us the ability to go with some split backs, which gives us a lot of options." HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY ON THE POSITION FLEXIBILITY WITH DAVIS AND ARMSTRONG

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