By Jeff Shearer
When Auburn's freshmen receivers have questions, senior Marcus Davis has answers.
About the offense, college life, the SEC. You name it.
"I relish it a lot," said Davis of his leadership role. "I feel like Coach Malzahn has given me a bigger voice this year to speak to guys. I've always been the guy who led with my actions. So it's kind of natural when I get up, guys listen. So I'm trying to take advantage of it because I know with strong leadership, that's how championships are won."
Davis honed his leadership skills as a quarterback in high school in south Florida.
"I was the leader of my high school team," he said. "And I know with strong leadership, you can win games."
His first Auburn catch, against Arkansas State in 2013, went for an 18-yard touchdown.
Against Texas A&M that season, Davis delivered a key 27-yard grab on the game-winning drive.
For his career, he's hauled in 66 passes, including a career-high 30 as a junior in 2015.
"We've been in this offensive system for a while now," he said. "We know it like the back of our hand. So we're just trying to take the younger guys under our wings and just trying to get everybody on one page."
Those younger guys will soon include incoming freshmen receivers Nate Craig-Myers, Eli Stove and Marquis McClain, along with mid-year enrollee Kyle Davis, who has already earned a positive review from his fellow Davis.
"He looks great," Marcus said. "Even before spring ball, just going out, catching with him. The guy is really talented. I think he'll be able to help early."
Fans will get their first look at the newcomers, including junior quarterback John Franklin III, in the A-Day game on April 9. Davis is offering a few clues about the newest contender in Auburn's quarterback competition.
"He's really talented. He's an athlete. I think we have four good ones who are competing right now," Davis said. "He's really athletic and really fast, so I think he'll do a good job with the zone read. He has a really big arm. He can make the big throw.
"I think we've got a good group of guys right now, and whoever wins, we're going to rally behind them," he said. "And whatever happens from there, we'll go with."
Davis is reunited with new receivers coach Kodi Burns, a graduate assistant at Auburn in 2013 when Davis was a freshman.
"It's a great experience with a new coach," Davis said. "I just think he brings a lot of positive energy. Guys are responding well to him."
Davis could be a weapon on special teams for Auburn this fall. In the Birmingham Bowl against Memphis, he returned six punts for 94 yards.
"I think I can make an impact," he said. "I'm a very confident guy. I've got a year under my belt back there on punt return. I feel like I can make plays. I know I can make plays. It's just a matter of time."