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Western Wednesdays: Will Corey Davis make the move to the NFL?

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Only time will tell if Davis will forego his senior season.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

"Is this the last year of Corey Davis as a Bronco?"

For me, this question not only heightens curiosity, but presents a sad scenario for the inner Bronco fan. The proposition is sad because it means WMU's number one wide receiver whose talents are exceeded only by his work ethic could high tail it for the NFL after only three seasons in brown and gold.

I absolutely want to see him play for four, but as most things in sports go, it matters not even one bit what I want. What matters here is what the NFL wants and what Corey Davis wants.

Before getting right to the question, I think we should talk about what Davis has done and is doing in a Bronco uniform.

The question of him leaving for the draft is fair because the wide receiver from Wheaton, Illinois can flat out play. He is awesome at what he does and has a few accolades to prove it. Two seasons ago, Davis not only won the designation of the MAC's best freshmen, but led all freshmen at the FBS level in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. One season ago, Davis hauled in more touchdowns and receiving yards than anyone else in the MAC; in a field that included his older brother, Chippewa star turned San Diego Charger, Titus Davis. And now this season Davis finds himself on Phil Steele's preseason first team All MAC and fourth team All America, the only player from the MAC named to the latter.

A scroll through WMU's all-time receiving records doesn't require much time before finding Davis' name. He currently stands at sixth all-time in both receiving yards and touchdowns, chasing a pair of WMU legends in the process: Jordan White and Greg Jennings. Davis is on the cusp of some elite company, and is not so quietly approaching retired jersey territory.


Player

Years

Games

Receptions

Yards

Average

Touchdowns

Jordan White

2007-2011

43

306

4,187

13.7

32

Greg Jennings

2002-2005

42

238

3,539

14.9

39

Corey Davis

2013-2014

23

145

2,349

16.2

21

I don't believe Davis will reach the all time-receptions record at WMU, which is also tied for the best mark in MAC history, but I expect a four-year career will land him the top spots for both yards and touchdowns the former of which is also a MAC record. Needing just over 1,800 yards and 19 touchdowns to stand alone atop the WMU record books those categories, number 84's progress yields something extraordinary: we may already have seen Corey Davis' best season as a Bronco, and he will still likely be one of the best receivers in WMU history.

Of course, he could throw a wrench by declaring for the 2016 NFL Draft. Here's a long list of 2015 wide receiver draftees and their 2014 stats, along with Davis':

Player Team Receptions Yards Average Long Touchdowns
Rashard Higgins Colorado State 96 1,750 18.2 73 17
Amari Cooper Alabama 124 1,727 13.9 80 16
Tyler Lockett Kansas State 106 1,515 14.3 70 11
Justin Hardy East Carolina 121 1,494 12.3 66 10
Vince Mayle Washington State 106 1,483 14 90 9
Kevin White West Virginia 109 1,447 13.3 68 10
Corey Davis Western Michigan 78 1,408 18.1 75 15
Rashad Greene Florida State 99 1,365 13.8 74 7
Nelson Agholor USC 104 1,313 12.6 87 12
Tajae Sharpe UMass 85 1,281 15.1 77 7

Davis does a lot with fewer catches, which is incredibly impressive. Last year, he was seventh in receiving yards and third in touchdowns nationally. Davis may not have Heisman numbers like Amari Cooper as it stands right now, but a duplicate season would likely land him among the 10 best receivers in the country once again. Phil Steele could be onto something.

Davis is also of prototypical size. The average wide receiver selected in the 2015 Draft was 6-foot-1 and 209 pounds. Davis stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 205 pounds. Stellar numbers, great size and outstanding character; will the NFL want Corey Davis? Of course it will.

Will Corey Davis return for a senior season? I think so.

Davis is plenty good enough to forego a year of eligibility. He stacks up well against any receiver in the country, and while he may not be a, "can't miss" prospect just yet, he certainly won't be giving any GM's insomnia next April should they decide to use a pick on him. Declining a run at the NFL has little to do with ability - because Davis has plenty of that - but much to do with the opportunities present in his eventual senior season.

WMU's schedule is not favorable for winning 11 games, but it is favorable for a junior receiver to boost his draft stock. With the defenses of Michigan State and Ohio State on the schedule, Davis will get the chance to shine at the national stage, but has a better opportunity the following season to set records and win a championship. For starters, Davis will enter his fourth season catching passes from the rapidly improving Zach Terrell, whose success seems to mirror his own. 2016 could present one of the more prolific offensive duos in not only the MAC, but the country. With Davis at center stage for all of it, his stock can only rise.

There is, unfortunately, that ultimate risk of injury. There is also the mental side of things, which I cannot quantify. Davis may not consider the NFL until he graduates. He will certainly consider the opportunities he has at Western Michigan in the fall of 2016. He has a coach with NFL ties that may see it otherwise, and a brother in the league providing insight I'm sure. It's really early to talk about this, and I definitely wouldn't place money on it, but nobody else will be wearing number 84 other than Corey Davis in 2016, and perhaps never again.