AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football’s passing attack was average at best in new starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham’s debut last Saturday against Georgia Southern. But Stidham will get one of his projected top receivers back at the perfect time — a trip to No. 3 Clemson, the defending national champion.
Auburn sophomore wide receiver Kyle Davis will return from a one-game suspension this Saturday at Clemson (7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN). Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said Tuesday in his weekly news conference Davis will have a big role in Death Valley.
“ Kyle Davis will be in the game plan, and he will play a lot,” Malzahn said Tuesday. “He’s got a lot of big-play ability. I think we saw that last year as a true freshman, and I think he’s improved from last year. We’re excited to have him out there.”
Davis averaged a team-high 20.67 yards per catch last season as a true freshman. The 6-foot-2 Georgia native made a highlight-reel catch against Arkansas State in Week 2 last season, and the Tigers would love to see him repeat that feat one year later.
The sophomore missed the entire opener against Georgia Southern due to suspension, along with starting running back Kamryn Pettway and backup quarterback Sean White.
Pettway will return to action with Davis on Saturday, giving Stidham and the Tigers two of their top offensive playmakers in a massive road game. (White will remain suspended until Week 3.)
“That’s going to help us,” junior receiver Ryan Davis said Tuesday. “[Davis is] going to make big plays when he comes back and gets in the flow of things. Just having all our guys and all our weapons going into Death Valley is going to help us a lot.”
Before the suspension in Week 1, Davis missed all of Auburn’s spring practice due to what Malzahn called “personal business.” He returned to the team over the summer and impressed coaches with his transition back to game shape.
“I’ve seen a guy that’s hungry, a guy that’s excited to be there,” Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey said last month. “He’s a really good competitor. Obviously, he’s very talented, for sure.”
Davis is listed as a co-starter with fellow sophomore receiver Darius Slayton at the 9/split end on Auburn’s current depth chart. Slayton had a team-high nine targets in Week 1, recording three catches for 43 yards.
Davis has the ability, like several other Auburn receivers, to play multiple positions in the Tigers’ offensive scheme. He worked at the 5/big slot during fall practices.
“Obviously Kyle is an extremely great player,” Stidham said Saturday after the win over Georgia Southern. “He brings another big body on the outside. He’s another guy we can kind of move in and out. We’ll just see how Clemson’s going to play us and we’ll go from there.”
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