Daewood Davis has spent most of his football career at Oregon on the sideline while flip-flopping positions.
“I’m just waiting for my moment,” the redshirt sophomore said.
Davis found the ball in his hands at a critical moment for the first time as a Duck during the final seconds of Saturday’s 27-21 loss to Auburn in Arlington, Texas.
After the Tigers scored the go-ahead touchdown with nine seconds remaining, Anders Carlson sent a squib kick that Davis picked up at Oregon’s 31-yard line and ran untouched up the middle for 20 yards as he looked for a desperation route to the end zone before being tackled at the Auburn 36-yard line with three seconds left on the clock. If Justin Herbert’s final pass would have found an Oregon receiver in the end zone, Davis’ 33-yard return could have become one of the most meaningful plays of the game for the Ducks.
“That could have been my moment,” Davis said. “My mind blanked out and I just saw the end zone. I saw a window. It was a big hole and I broke a couple tackles and tried to stretch it, but the guy came from behind to grab my leg.”
Davis played only on special teams against Auburn, but has moved back to wide receiver as he continues to try and find a role with the Ducks. He was recruited as a wide receiver by Willie Taggart out of Hollywood, Fla., but sat out a redshirt year before catching one pass against San Jose State last season.
Davis moved to cornerback in the spring and started fall camp at that spot before Brenden Schooler, Mycah Pittman and JR Waters all suffered injuries that will force them all to miss at least the first few weeks of the season. Cornerbacks coach Donte Williams told him that Mario Cristobal requested Davis back on offense.
“They said that I was doing good on defense, but they needed me to come over,” Davis said. “I went over, no questions. I’m here for the team.”
The 6-foot-2 Davis had his best highlights during Oregon’s 2018 spring game when he had three catches for 75 yards, including touchdowns of 36 and 28 yards.
“He’s a fast guy, but the best thing about Daewood is that he’s pretty versatile, so his game has improved,” Cristobal said. “Not only a straight-line runner, he’s a good route runner and gets in and out of breaks well. He did good things with the intermediate stuff and screens. He’s become a well-rounded football player. I think his time on defense helped him have a better understanding of what we do on offense. I was almost taken aback by how seamless his transition has been.”
Davis agreed that he’s a better wide receiver for having played cornerback.
“I’ve been learning the defense all that time and now switching back to wide receiver, I’m picking up the plays again very fast,” he said. “I know the coverages now and how people will try to play me. It helps me out on the field to win on routes.”
Davis is listed as the backup to Johnny Johnson on the depth chart at one receiver spot as No. 16 Oregon (0-1) prepares to host Nevada (1-0) on Saturday.
“He’s done a great job coming over and giving us everything he’s got in regards to filling in after not even going through spring at wide receiver,” Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said. “Daewood is another example of a guy who has come over and contributed. He’s getting better every day.”
Davis is still waiting for his moment.
“If they put me in there, I’m not going to let anybody down,” he said.
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