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Auburn WR Marcus Davis ready to take over for Quan Bray on punt returns

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Marcus Davis hopes fans see similarities between Auburn’s new punt returner, and the old one.

Davis revealed to reporters Sunday night that special teams coach Scott Fountain informed the junior he would be taking over as the Tigers’ starting punt returner.

“My freshman year I’ve always been in a mix, and I had a couple returns my freshman year,” Davis said. “I had a couple my sophomore year as well, so I’ve always been in the mix but I finally get the chance to start.”

The junior takes over for last year’s starter Quan Bray, who graduated as one of Auburn’s top returners of all-time. As a senior, Bray ranked second nationally (18.1 yards per return), and returned two for touchdowns.

Davis called his time as Bray’s backup last season invaluable.

“I really took the mental reps from Quan Bray,” Davis said. “Every time he was up I took the mental reps and I learned that a big play could happen at any time, so I’m just ready to see and make a play happen.”

The 5-foot-9, 180-pounder sees a number of similarities between his game, and that of his former teammate.

“I think we’re very similar -- shifty, could make a guy miss in the open field, could score the long one,” Davis said. “I’m just ready to do it.”

Stepping in on punt returns isn’t the only role Davis hopes to have when the season starts Saturday at the Georgia Day.

Davis is hoping to be one of the receivers called on to replace Bray's, and Sammie Coates' production on the offense.

With last year’s leading receiver D’haquille Williams’ status for the opener uncertain, Ricardo Louis and Davis are the only returning receivers with significant experience on the roster. Davis played in all 13 of Auburn’s game as a sophomore, catching 13 passes for 91 yards with a touchdown.

The group’s chemistry with quarterback Jeremy Johnson continues to improve from where it was in the spring thanks to extra work put before training camp.

“I think the timing is pretty good,” Davis said. “Since the summer everybody came out and worked, and I feel like we’re at a good stage right now and everybody’s clicking.”

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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