Michigan State's Felton Davis III is already showing why he's one of the best WRs in the B1G
Every time Felton Davis caught a pass in Michigan State’s season opener, he followed it with a short celebration.
Three catches, 69 yards and a touchdown. Four catches if you count an important two-point conversion at the end of the game. And every time he hauled in a pass in the Spartans’ 38-31 win over Utah State, Davis added a little something afterwards.
The truly great ones usually do. Guys like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco always had some sort of choreographed performance following a big catch.
I don’t expect you to look at Davis’ stat line and compare him to some of the all-time great receivers the game has ever seen. To understand the impact the Michigan State wide receiver had last Friday, and the significance of his presence, you had to experience all of those moments.
Because all three of his catches, four if you count the two-point conversion, were highlight reel material.
You can start with his most important reception, a 31-yard catch with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Spartans trailing 31-30. A diving grab near the sideline with a defender in his face, putting the offense in field goal range for the chance to take the lead.
Davis made it look easy.
First Team All-Hands: We nominate @TheFreak_18! 👐
Felton Davis comes up with the huge snag for @MSU_Football, and it’s a #BTNStandout presented by @AutoOwnersIns: pic.twitter.com/EtvZnAESY2
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 1, 2018
Four plays later, the Spartans found the end zone on a 13-yard run from Connor Heyward to take a 36-31 lead with two minutes left. Davis was then the target of a crucial two-point conversion, and he came up big, hauling in the pass to give MSU a touchdown lead.
“It was a huge catch,” head coach Mark Dantonio said of Davis’ 31-yard diving reception. “It put us down there in field goal position, so we could run out the clock, kick a field goal and win it or possibly score a touchdown. Then he has the big two-point conversion catch as well.”
Translation: that catch might be the reason Michigan State is 1-0 and not 0-1 right now.
But that wasn’t the only big catch Davis had in his Week 1 showing. Near the end of the first half, the receiver was able to fight off an Aggies defender, adjust to the ball and stick a foot to the turf in the end zone after making a leaping grab.
When @brianlewerke14 found Felton Davis, we felt that. 🙌@TheFreak_18 hauls in an impressive TD to give @MSU_Football the lead: pic.twitter.com/jce3p6YSfE
— Michigan St. on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) September 1, 2018
His first catch of the game, a 28-yard reception in the first quarter, opened some eyes as well.
But this is what Davis does. In one outing — the first game of the season, mind you — the All-B1G receiver registered three highlight-reel catches. And, for him, it was just another day at the office.
“I thought Felton came up big, he made a couple big catches,” Dantonio said. “He’s a player. He made big catches last year and he’ll continue to do that.”
Davis caught 55 passes for 776 yards and nine touchdowns in 2017, and several of those receptions were just as impressive as the three catches he had on Friday night. His Week 1 performance wasn’t a fluke. Dantonio’s right, his senior receiver will continue to make big plays for the Spartans throughout the year.
Comparing Davis to some of the all-time greats like Moss, Owens and Ochocinco is a little premature — although his celebration game could be one of the best by season’s end. The best receiver in the B1G, though? Yeah, it’s fair to say that Davis is arguably the best at his craft in the league.
He didn’t rack up 121 yards and two touchdowns on just four catches like Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin. And he didn’t haul in 11 passes in a record-breaking performance like Rondale Moore of Purdue.
But there aren’t many players who can match Davis’ degree of difficulty. If pass-catching was measured like diving, he would’ve scored a perfect 10.
Davis may not have the big numbers, though he’s capable, but it’s the pure talent and athleticism that separates him from the other receivers in the conference. Eventually, everyone will appreciate the playmaker wearing No. 18 for the Spartans.
They’ll appreciate his post-catch celebrations, too.