UNC Football: Where has Quinshad Davis been?


The North Carolina Tar Heels may have had a rough start to the season defensively, but offensively, things are going just fine for Marquise Williams and the Tar Heel offense. The Tar Heels rank 21st in the nation in points for, averaging 42.7 points per game. The Carolina running backs have all been very good, with starter T.J. Logan averaging 4.7 yards per carry, freshman Elijah Hood rushing for exactly four yards a carry and bruiser Romar Morris rushing for three touchdowns, the team leader in that category.

Through the air, an unlikely star has emerged as a pass catcher. Mack Hollins is averaging 30.3 yards per catch and has scored two touchdowns so far this season. His 91 yard touchdown catch has been one of the highlights of the season so far for the Tar Heels.

His partner in crime at wideout is Quinshad Davis, who is off to a bit of a slow start this season. Davis has caught nine passes for 91 yards and a touchdown, which isn’t bad through three games this season. But he hasn’t been a dominant presence either, as many expected him to develop into following his strong freshman campaign.

In 2012, Davis’s freshman season, he caught 61 passes for 776 yards and five touchdowns. He did most of his work in the final four games of the season, and it looked like Carolina had a star in the making in number 14. In the final four games of 2012, Davis caught 38 passes for 484 yards and three touchdowns, including a 16 reception performance against UVA on a Thursday night in November.

Davis is a big and athletic target who excels at multiple things. He is a valuable asset in the screen game, as seen in the GIF below. Davis here takes a simple jailbreak screen for a big gain, using a couple good blocks and good jukes.

That is really impressive for a 6’4″ wideout. Here is a GIF of Davis using his size to advantage well.

That size is used most in the redzone, where Davis is always a threat in the redzone to catch a jump ball. Marquise Williams has gotten pretty good at throwing these jump balls, and Davis has always been good at catching them.

He is more than just a big body. Here is Davis working against Kyle Fuller, a 2014 first round NFL draft pick and a really good cornerback. He uses a nifty head fake and shoots into the endzone, speeding pass Kyle Fuller for the easy touchdown..

Finally, has good focus and hands for a 6’4″ target.

That catch came in 2012 against Elon, but here is another example of a bad drop against Virginia Tech a year ago. Davis got a paw on it, but it ended up as a drop and a near interception for the Hokies.

The throw was a bit long, but

Eric Ebron makes that catch

on the same route against Georgia Tech in 2013.

As you can see in the video, Williams leaves it just a bit long for Davis. Davis and Williams don’t seem to have much chemistry together, as chemistry between a target and a quarterback goes. In fact, since 2012 Davis has been better with Bryn Renner than with Marquise Williams as his quarterback.

In games with Renner as starting QB: 19 games, 4.57 catches per game, 55.68 yards per game, 0.58 touchdowns per game

In games with Williams as starting QB: nine games, 3.44 catches per game, 48.77 yards per game, .55 touchdowns per game

Again, the touchdowns aren’t very different because Williams has gotten good at throwing those little jump balls to Davis in the redzone. But the catches per game and yards per game are down significantly with Williams in place of Renner. The same size isn’t huge, but it also isn’t small enough to be ignored.

The good sign for Davis, even with Williams as his quarterback, is that he got off to a similar slow start last year. In the first three games of 2013, the junior from Gaffeny, South Carolina, had eight catches for 93 yards and two TDs. He got going in the next game against East Carolina with five catches for 111 yards and a TD, with Renner was quarterback.

As we showed above, Davis is a great talent for the Tar Heels. He has shown great hands, athleticism and the ability to go up and get the ball in the endzone. He has gotten off to a slow start in 2014 with Marquise Williams as his QB. Hopefully he can develop more chemistry with Williams and get more targets in a North Carolina offense filled with weapons.

Stats via ESPN.com. GIFs via ZombieProphet and DraftBreakdown.com