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Corey Davis: Big talent from a small school


While draft-eligible receivers in the College Football Playoff like Mike Williams of Clemson, John Ross of Washington and Curtis Samuel of Ohio State grabbed headlines throughout their final college seasons, Corey Davis of Western Michigan just kept grabbing passes.

He got his day in the sun when his Broncos were selected to play in the Cotton Bowl, but the spotlight still shone brighter on others.

That could change come draft day.

"I know a lot of scouts and a lot of other players think that my level of competition wasn't really that serious just being from the MAC," Davis said. "But I feel like I can play with the best of them. My confidence is up there. I'm not afraid to go up against anyone."

Davis heads a handful of receivers projected to be picked in the first three rounds of the draft that faced one obstacle along the way that the playoff participants did not. Like Cooper Kupp of Eastern Washington and Zay Jones of East Carolina, Davis had to pass another test administered by the NFL's talent evaluators.

"The biggest thing with the small school guys is that say I'm in Pennsylvania; well, I've got to picture that kid starting at Penn State. If I'm at Kent State, I've got to picture him starting at Ohio State," Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said. "If he's dominating at William & Mary, I have to suspect that if he goes to Virginia Tech or Virginia he would be dominating as well.

"If I can make that leap, there's nothing to be afraid of."

Among other things, scouts pay particular attention to how players like Davis performed in games against bigger programs. In Davis' case, he more than held his own in nine games over his four-year career against Big Ten teams, including 18 catches for 250 yards and two touchdowns in two matchups with Michigan State.

"As far as the level of competition, we've played Big Ten teams and we've competed with those guys," Davis said. "It really doesn't matter who's across from me. They bleed red like me."

That has been a part of Davis' mindset since he drew little interest from colleges out of high school, garnering just one other scholarship offer aside from the one he accepted from Western Michigan. Now he's poised to possibly be the first receiver drafted.

"I always knew this was a dream and goal of mine, but as far as me being a top, top receiver, projected first round, I couldn't have imagined it," Davis said. "I would say a big thing that separates me from them is my work ethic. I always put in extra work, and that's probably because I have that chip on my shoulder.

"I work like I'm the worst receiver in the draft, but I know I'm that top guy."

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