Following his junior year of high school, Quinshad Davis thought he would play college football for South Carolina. Instead, the former Gaffney star is set to face the Gamecocks as a member of the North Carolina football team for the second time.
Davis was set to commit to USC, but before he did the Gamecocks received commitments from wide receivers Jody Fuller, Kwinton Smith and Shaq Roland.
Despite having three receivers committed, South Carolina stayed in touch with Davis throughout his senior year, but there was confusion about whether he was being offered a grayshirt position or a spot in USC’s 2012 class.
Davis decided to rule out the Gamecocks and instead chose North Carolina over offers from Tennessee, Wake Forest and several others.
In three years with the Tar Heels, he has tied the UNC career record for touchdown receptions with 21, ranks eighth in receptions with 150 and is ninth in receiving yards with 1,976.
Meanwhile, Fuller, Smith and Roland have all transferred from South Carolina.
Fuller and Smith combined to catch six passes with the Gamecocks, while Roland showed flashes of greatness but was never able to excel consistently and left USC after the Clemson game last year.
Davis is happy about where he ended up.
“It got kind of messy towards the end, but I was just like, ‘I’m not really worried about them no more,’ ” Davis said of his recruitment. “I’m not going to bad talk nobody because all those other players were good players. (USC) made their decision. That’s who they wanted, so it played out the way it should’ve.”
Davis is anxious to face the Gamecocks on Thursday. He said UNC will find out a lot about its team in the season opener in Charlotte.
“I think it’s a good thing that we’re starting out with South Carolina. We’ll get a really good feel for our team and see how well we did over the summer and in training camp,” he said. “I think it’ll be a good thing for us and definitely a good thing for me because I love going against the hometown team. I don’t get to play them enough. It’s always exciting for me.”
Davis said he is 100 percent after breaking his leg during the last offensive play of North Carolina’s 2014 season.
UNC was trying to get Davis the school record for touchdown receptions in a career at the end of the Tar Heels’ blowout bowl loss to Rutgers, but instead a meaningless play at the end of the game turned costly.
“It was just a little simple fade route trying to break the record so I could go ahead and get that out of the way. When I came down it just snapped because I had been playing with a stress fracture the whole year,” he said. “When I jumped and came down I felt something tweak. I was like, ‘Well maybe I just hyperextended it,’ but when I tried to get up, I couldn’t get up and I knew something bad had happened.”
UNC coach Larry Fedora said it was a tough offseason for his senior receiver.
“Quinshad had the broken leg at the end of last year and then had his appendix taken out in the middle of summer,” Fedora said. “He's really been really focused on getting himself back healthy and I think he's excited to be back playing.”
Davis was considering entering the NFL Draft, but after breaking his leg opted to return to school for his senior year. After the injury, Davis said the decision to return to school was an easy one.
He said he is hoping to finish his degree and improve his draft stock with a strong senior season.
“I think it’s a good thing,” he said of the injury. “I get to come back and get my education and go ahead and finish up. I have an opportunity to have another good year and increase my draft status. I think it’s a blessing in disguise.”
Davis will have plenty of family members and friends in the stands when the Tar Heels face USC. Gaffney is about an hour from Charlotte.
“It’s Gaffney. Not just my family, but everybody will come out and show support because we’ve got another Gaffney native on their team, Shaq Davidson (who’s out with an injury),” he said.
GAMECOCKS VS. TAR HEELS
Who: USC (0-0) vs. UNC (0-0)
When: Thursday, 6 p.m.
Where: Bank of American Stadium, Charlotte