AUBURN, Ala. — Ryan Davis believes he's joining Auburn at the perfect time.
A consensus four-star receiver signee in the Tigers' 2015 class, Davis knows the past two years, the team has forged a run-first identity. But he feels that will begin to change as soon as he gets to fall camp.
"I know from talking to (quarterback) Jeremy Johnson, he wants to throw the ball more," Davis said in a phone interview last month. "He feels like he's more of a passer than he is a runner. He wants to get those big passing numbers. He wants to show NFL scouts that he can play quarterback at the next level. I know that's a lot going into it. Most people don't think Auburn quarterbacks can succeed in the NFL, but if you look at Cam Newton, he's doing very well. So I know Jeremy Johnson has a similar skill set to him and would like to show people the same thing."
Davis believes he can help Johnson — or whoever wins the starting quarterback job this spring — in that regard. When asked what he viewed as his biggest strengths, Davis said it was simply making plays.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Ledger-Enquirer
"I can make people miss. I'm stronger than what a lot of people think. A lot bigger, also," he said. " ... I think I'm a big-time player who has a knack for getting in the end zone."
As Davis noted, he's no stranger to scoring; as a quarterback at Lakewood (Fla.) High School last season, he passed for 2,140 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for 1,233 yards and 17 scores. But with his top-flight athletic ability, Davis isn't worried about transitioning to receiver.
Auburn's coaching staff isn't sweating it, either.
"They see me as coming in and making a big difference next year. They want to get me in the rotation," Davis said. "All I need to do is show that I can play and ball out during fall camp. I know I have to earn my way and hopefully show what I can do. I just need to get up there and prove it on the field. "
If that playing time doesn't come immediately, Davis was candid. If he's redshirting next fall, it's on him.
"It would mean I'm obviously not doing something right. It could be a point where it's something in my game I need to work on," Davis said. "You have to take it as another step in your life. I need to work and keep improving. It could be something in my game that's weak and holding me back. Or it could be something mental — not knowing the playbook (well enough). But next year I'm going to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening."
He'll only have a month of fall camp to prove that. If things had worked out the way Davis had originally mapped them out, however, he'd already be on campus. He had always planned to enroll early. But all of his travel last summer did him in. Due to the numerous football camps he was attending, Davis didn't make time to take the one class he needed that would allowed him to graduate in December.
He isn't too frustrated, though, as he's vowed to make the most out of his last semester in high school.
"I'm just enjoying my time with friends and family, because soon I'll be on to the next phase in my life," said Davis, who has lived in St. Petersburg, Fla., his whole life. "I'm not going to see as many people — some of these people from high school, I might not see until I'm 35 or 40. And some people, I may never see them again."
Admittedly, Davis said he isn't "a big talker." Instead, he wants his production to fill in the gaps. The only time he'll speak is "when it's necessary." But make no mistake. Davis is confident in himself.
As such, he had no problem stating what people should expect to see in the future.
"I just want people to know they're getting a passionate player, a guy who's going to give 100 percent and won't be outworked," he said. "I'm on a mission to become one of the greats to ever become an Auburn Tiger."