Notre Dame will not have receiver Avery Davis available when it opens its season against Ohio State on Sept. 3, nor will it have him for any other game in 2022. Davis sustained a torn ACL in his right knee during practice on Friday, Aug. 12, and will miss the entire season, according to the school.
It’s the second time Davis has suffered a season-ending knee injury. Last November, Davis tore the ACL in his left knee while blocking on a Kyren Williams touchdown run during Notre Dame’s 34-6 win over Navy. He would miss the final four games of the season with the injury, but was cleared to practice with the team this summer and was in line to take on a significant role. Davis finished the 2021 season with 27 receptions for 386 yards and four touchdowns and looked to be the primary option in the slot for the Irish.
Davis’ absence will provide a challenge for the Notre Dame offense in Marcus Freeman’s first season in charge. Kevin Austin Jr., last season’s leading wideout with 48 receptions for 888 yards, is in the NFL. Tight end Michael Mayer was the team’s primary receiving option last year, catching 71 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns, but as talented and versatile as Mayer is, most of his targets are on shorter throws within 10 yards. While Davis is more of an underneath option out of the slot, his presence helps open things up for Mayer and other receivers downfield. Without him, Irish receivers could experience a tougher time finding space to work.
While the Irish receiver room still has experience with Braden Lenzy, and Lorenzo Styles showed plenty of potential in the Fiesta Bowl (eight catches for 136 yards and a TD), the Davis injury will thrust inexperienced players like Deion Colzie, Jayden Thomas and Tobias Merriweather into more prominent roles.