ATHENS -- A glance at the track and field roster on Georgia’s athletics website reveals Reggie Davis’ name.
Don’t be fooled. As much as he wishes it were true, Davis is not a part of the track team.
The sophomore wide receiver has some real speed and appeared in 11 games for the Georgia football team last season, catching 11 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown.
Davis also mixed in on punt and kick returns, and for good reason. The Tallahassee, Fla., native ran track at Lincoln High School where he helped lead the Trojans to a state championship in 2012 for its 4x100-meter relay team. He also said he once ran a 10.4 in the 100 meters and 20.2 in the 200.
Davis planned on running track as well as playing football at Georgia, but there is just once problem, his weight.
“Last season I was 160 (pounds) soaking wet,” Davis said.
After talking with Georgia coaches, the consensus was that Davis needed to get bigger if he were to succeed in the SEC. Running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall competed with the track team last season, but Marshall suffered a hamstring injury that held him out of last year’s G-Day game.
Davis said a potential injury had nothing to do with the coaches’ decision but that they were looking out for his best interest.
“I needed to get bigger,” Davis said. “We all can see that, but I need to focus on the weight room, so that’s what I had to step up and do.”
Since the end of the fall season, Davis has already put on weight and said he has been floating between 167 and 168 pounds. The plan is to have Davis up to 185 pounds by the start of next season, but he already has seen an improvement with just a few added pounds.
“I can do a lot more things that I couldn’t do last year, so it’s been coming around, but it’s still a work in progress,” Davis said. “I can get off jams a lot better and actually establish a vertical line.”
Georgia head coach Mark Richt also has noticed a difference in Davis this spring. Davis caught three passes for 59 yards in the Bulldogs’ first spring scrimmage, but it wasn’t his receiving work that impressed Richt.
“We had a screen early in the scrimmage. He didn’t make a devastating block, but he was supposed to crack a defender,” Richt said. “Come inside and crack him and pin him when we had a screen coming outside, and he wasn’t strong enough to keep him from going, but he was athletic enough and played hard enough to stay on him and stayed with him all the way until he went out of bounds.”
Even with the increase in weight, speed will be the defining factor of Davis’ game. Just ask senior quarterback Hutson Mason, the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback who is trying to get used to Davis’ speed.
“A noodle arm like me, it’s takes quite a bit of effort for a kid from Florida that can run to get it out there,” Mason said. “I try to crow hop and throw it as far as I can so I don’t underthrow him because I’m going to hear it from (offensive coordinator Mike) Bobo if I underthrow him. “
Davis said that Georgia track and field head coach Wayne Norton reached out to him and told him to come by once spring football is over. Davis said he might wait until next year because it will be far along in the track season, but is pretty confident that he could still hold his own.
“I know I could keep up with them, but I don’t know about schooling them,” Davis said.