New Kansas State wide receiver Andre Davis and quarterback Jake Waters have more in common than meets the eye.
Like Waters, Davis was a Division-I qualifier out of high school, but had no scholarship offers. After two years of JUCO ball at Santa Rosa Junior College, Davis now has a scholarship and is looking to see the field as a receiver for the Wildcats as soon as possible.
Bolstering those chances was his early arrival at K-State in January immediately following his second season playing at Santa Rosa. While several other JUCO transfers scrambled through summer school to gain Division-I eligibility, Davis was already in Manhattan learning the K-State playbook.
“We just started fall camp about three days ago — I couldn’t imagine coming in here right off the bat three days ago and fresh, trying to learn everything, get accustomed to the team and living in Kansas,” Davis said at K-State media day on Aug. 6. “But I’ve been here since January, so I’m comfortable now, I know all of my brothers on the team. It’s just a good feeling getting here early.”
Davis hopes to contribute immediately in a receiving corps featuring established veterans Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton. He also hopes to spell Lockett in the return game.
“I love special teams here,” Davis said. “We take it very seriously here at K-State. We have good coaches, good blocking schemes and set ups, so the return game is going to be exciting. A lot of people don’t like punt returns, because you’re back there by yourself and everybody’s coming for you, but I like that type of pressure.”
Lockett said the sky is the limit for Davis, who did well in offseason workouts.
“It’s hard to come here from a JUCO and try to fit in, because the game speed is a lot faster,” Lockett said. “But I think Andre came in here and did a great job. He did well in winter workouts, and has been improving in the summer as well. I think he can help us a lot this season.
“The biggest thing is he has to continue to come out here and keep improving every day like we always talk about doing. He has to be able to distinguish himself from everybody else to where coach says ‘that’s the guy.’ And I think he’s starting to do that.”
Wide receivers coach Andre Coleman said Davis has the skillset to fit right in with Lockett.
“He’s getting better everyday,” Coleman said. “He has all of the tools to be special, he’s extremely quick, he’s got great feet, he’s fast. But at this level, I tell my guys it’s 75 percent mental. You have to be able to think on the run, and you have to be able to go. I see him getting better each day, and that’s promising.
“I tell my guys, ‘I don’t mind if you make mistakes, just don’t make the same mistakes,’ and he’s not making the same mistakes. He’s getting better.”
Davis, who comes to K-State as the fifth-ranked JUCO receiver in his recruiting class, caught 41 passes and five touchdowns while gaining 841 yards as a sophomore at Santa Rosa. He also scored a pair of TDs on special teams.
The junior transfer said he’s most comfortable in the slot as a receiver.
“Most of my life I’ve played running back, and in the slot you can get reverses and little bubble screens, just get the ball in your hands right away and make people miss,” he said. “But I also have speed and can run routes.
“I want to help the team in any way possible I can. I feel like I’m an athlete, so I can line up anywhere on the field. As long as I can help the team and play my part for us to get W’s, at the end of the day that’s all I care about.”
Davis said he can’t wait to work more with Waters, who he described as the best quarterback he’s played with.
“He’s so accurate, he’s got arm strength, he knows the game and is smart,” Davis said of Waters. “And he has that chip on his shoulder — he wants to get better and compete. He’s a JUCO guy as well, so it’s good to see him have weapons around him and using them. He’s just slinging it, I can’t wait.”