After Derius Davis became the first true freshman to return a punt for a touchdown in his first game since Deante Gray did so against Grambling in 2012, Gary Patterson was willing to crow. Well, kind of. “The joke on the sidelines - I was mad, because about one of every two punts he fumbles in practice - so they’re all giving me a bad time, because the first one he does, he takes back for a touchdown. I said, ‘not so fast there, woodchuck’. And the next one he fumbles on the 40 yard line.”
I think Coach Patterson was (somewhat) willing to forgive the fumble - which he recovered - in light of the day that Davis had, as the true freshman wide receiver out of St. Francisville, LA racked up 122 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in his first game as a Frog. Davis’ efforts earned him Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors, a distinction he shares with running back Chuba Hubbard of Oklahoma State.
Davis has been compared to another speedy Boy From the Boot - fellow special teams ace KaVontae Turpin, who also returned a punt for a score as a freshman. Davis is a little bigger than Turp but appeared just as explosive in his first action of the season.
Davis was one of several true freshmen to make positive first impressions - Coach Patterson recognized him along with Taye Barber, Tevailance Hunt, and John Stephens, Jr in the post game - and is excited for the potential his young receivers have. “All those guys, we need them to step up. We are going to need them to play at a higher level, and they will. The learning curve is going to be so much faster. Those are learning experiences. You’ve got to understand what you’re getting ready to play, who you’re going to play, and what’s going to go on - and then we get better next week. There’s nothing better than learning and winning.”
Derius Davis learned. TCU won. And the future looks bright.