Over the span of the 2020-2021 CFL off-season the Ottawa Redblacks’ offence has changed immensely. From the quarterback room all the way through the offensive line there has been a number of changes across the Redblacks’ offence since the team last stepped foot on the field on November 1st 2019 and there has also been a number of improvements on offence including the young skill players brought in over the off-season. The Redblacks lost receivers Dominique Rhymes, Caleb Holley, Nate Behar, Seth Coate and Noel Thomas as well as running backs John Crockett, Mossis Madu and Greg Morris since the 2019 season but have since brought in younger and fresh talent like running backs Akeem Hunt, Detrez Newsome and Timothy Flanders who haven’t suited up in awhile making their legs fresh for the 2021 season. They’ve also brought in a young group of receivers to play alongside young returning receivers DeVonte Dedmon, Wesley Lewis, Shannon Smith, Rafael Araujo Lopes, Jerminic Smith and more. The new, young receivers coming in are set to make a large impact in Paul LaPolice’s offence, and with the speed, versatility and resume Ryan Davis brings to Ottawa, of all the new receivers signed this off-season he is expected to make the biggest impact of the group.
Davis, a 24 year old receiver out of Auburn was signed this off-season as a free agent. The Tigers’ all-time receptions leader has spent time with the NFL’s New England Patriots where he caught 3 passes for 30 yards in the pre-season, learning from fellow receivers Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas and Julian Edelman. He’s also had the opportunity to play in the XFL with the Tampa Bay Vipers but those short stints isn’t what makes the name Ryan Davis a big one coming into Redblacks’ training camp this July.
“I’m not your typical receiver.” Davis said in an interview during his pre-draft process in 2019. At 5-foot-10, 186 pounds Davis has proven himself to be a “do it all” kind of player on offence. He can line up anywhere as a receiver but also make an impact as a ball carrier and if needed a kick returner.
While at Auburn he played 48 games, catching a total 178 passes for 1,555 yards and 7 touchdowns, rushing for 37 yards on 8 carries, returning 24 punts for 259 yards including a 48 yard punt return and even completing 3 of 4 passes for 105 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ryan Davis was Auburn’s number one play maker while he was a part of the team, being able to make plays at any position. With his route running, speed and versatility it is proven that he is made for the CFL game having looked at the receivers that have seen success in the league. Players like Nic Demski, Lucky Whitehead, Ryan Lankford, and Weston Dressler have seen success in similar roles as a part of Paul LaPolice’s offensive scheme and having seen what Diontae Spencer, Chris Williams and Jamill Smith did in Ottawa it is only more evidence backing up the fact that Ryan Davis has high potential at TD Place.
What also brings out more potential for Davis heading into the 2021 CFL season is the recent retirement of receiver Jalen Saunders who is a very similar receiver to Davis. Saunders is a former 1,000 yard receiver and recently suffered injuries in a car accident. Although he hasn’t officially hung up his cleats the Ottawa Redblacks have since placed him on the retired list. If he does recover in time to play in the 2021 season he and Davis would likely play similar roles and could end up being quite the receiver duo alongside RJ Harris, Brad Sinopoli, Anthony Coombs, Daniel Petermann, Jerminic Smith and DeVonte Dedmon.
On Redblacks’ linebacker Micah Awe’s Purpleshift combine testing app Davis has clocked in at 16.549 miles per hour, which is 26.63 kilometres per hour on his infamous 28 yard trick play against Texas A&M linked above which had been predicted by Ottawa’s very own Jesse Palmer.