Josh Davis already has given Marshall a lift in three games this year. On Saturday, he expects to do it again.
With the Thundering Herd dropping passes left and right, Davis has consistently been their most productive receiver. His 23 catches, 423 yards and three touchdowns are all team-highs so far this season.
And with an extra week of rest, he expects to play this week against Kent State despite an injured meniscus in his right knee suffered in the team's opener against Appalachian State.
"Both of my legs got bent way up underneath me," Davis said.
On Marshall's second play of the season, he caught a pass from quarterback Byron Leftwich. One defender hit him high; the other hit him low, and he fumbled. The Mountaineers marched into the end zone four plays later, and the Herd found themselves behind 7-0.
He stayed in the game and caught 10 more passes for 264 yards and a touchdown in Marshall's 50-17 rout. The pain became worse and worse, but he still had six catches against both Virginia Tech and UCF. Coach Bob Pruett labeled him "hopeful" for this week.
Davis started practicing again Tuesday, and if he has any say, he'll play against the Golden Flashes. His production on the field this year has simply been a continuation of 2001, when he set an NCAA record for freshmen with 79 catches.
Coming out of York High School in Hickory Grove, S.C., Davis was redshirted in 2000. But last year, his 961 receiving yards were second behind Darius Watts, and he scored five times. He had at least three receptions in every game and also platooned as a kick and punt returner.
Pruett always seems to have at least one freshman starting on either side of the ball -- Watts did the same thing as a true freshman in 2000. So Davis had no problems being tested early in his career.
"If you have the talent to play as a freshman at Marshall, you're going to play," he said.
Where the Herd has talent every year is at the receiver position. Watts and Davis team with Curtis Jones and Denero Marriott to form four dazzling targets for Leftwich.
"I'd have a hard time voting for all-league receivers just on their team," Kent State coach Dean Pees said.
Although the physique and characteristics of each are different, there's no particular receiver Leftwich looks for on a particular down-and-distance.
"Whoever's open, that's who's getting the ball," Davis said.
Sports writer Rob Peirce can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.