STORRS, Conn. — UConn’s Tyler Davis says he’s spent a lot of time on the internet watching highlights of Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed.
“He was a quarterback when he came into Florida and they transferred him over to tight end,” Davis said. “Look at him now.”
Davis, who also was touted as a top quarterback prospect when he arrived at UConn in 2014 made a similar switch before this season.
During UConn’s spring game, the redshirt freshman completed 10 of 17 passes for 83 yards, but found himself third on the quarterback depth chart behind junior Bryant Shirreffs and senior Garrett Anderson.
Coach Bob Diaco said at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Davis may be one of the top 10 athletes on the team. It just didn’t make sense he said, to have someone that talented standing next to him on the sideline as a third-stringer.
Diaco talked to Davis about the possibility of becoming a linebacker before deciding that tight end would be the best fit.
“He thought I had all the traits to do it and so far, it’s been working out,” Davis said.
Davis is third on the team in receiving, with 11 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown, a 24-yard catch from Shirreffs in UConn’s 31-24 loss to Syracuse.
“What was initially met with some trepidation ends up being, ‘Wow, I can’t imagine that I would be doing anything other than this,'” Diaco said. “That’s how it looks. He’s really a weapon for that position.”
Davis said catching the ball hasn’t been an issue and he’s always been a good runner. He threw for 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 1,553 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior at Mepham High School in North Bellmore, New York. But he said learning to block has not been as easy.
“It’s a lot more than you think,” he said. “More technique and footwork and leverage than I ever knew. I like to think that I’m getting better each and every day.”
Diaco also has found a way to keep Davis as a throwing option.
As a holder on special teams, he’s already converted two fake field-goal attempts. The first, against Navy, set up a touchdown. The second gave the Huskies a first-and-goal late in the game against Syracuse, which the Huskies failed to convert.
He’s 2 of 2 for 42 yards. But Davis said while he’s enjoyed making those throws, he has no plans to return to quarterback.
“I think I’m going to stick with tight end,” Davis said. “Coach Diaco and myself and all the coaches really like my progress that I’ve been making. That’s definitely for the future, too.”
UConn (2-3, 0-2 American) will need more production from Davis and the offense Saturday as it hosts Cincinnati (3-2, 0-2)
The Huskies average just 350 yards a game, which ranks 104th among the 128 Bowl Subdivision teams.
“There’s been a bunch of plays where we’re just one block away from busting this thing open,” Davis said. “That gives us a lot of confidence knowing that we’re just a few inches away from really executing and really getting this thing together.”