RECORD SETTER: Tulsa’s All-American Ashlan Davis has been named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation 2005 Player of the Year “Watch List.??? Davis and Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson are the only players from Oklahoma on the list. Davis set the NCAA single-season record for touchdowns on kickoff returns last year with five, and also established the record for returning a kick for a touchdown in consecutive games with four.
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Nearly every pre-season national publication and internet service has Tulsa seniors Ashlan Davis and Garrett Mills listed as first team all-conference selections, as well as among the top players at their positions nationally. Davis is one of the nation’s premier kickoff return specialists, while Mills is one of the top tight ends in the country.
CBSSportsLine.com has recently named 11 of the top players in the nation, not from a BCS conference. Only one player for each position was announced, as two of the 11 spots were taken by the Tulsa seniors. In addition, Davis was named to the SportsIllustrated.com list of the “Nation’s Top Gamebreakers.”
Davis ranked sixth on the list behind USC’s Reggie Bush (RB/KR), Ohio State’s Ted Ginn (WR/KR), Vince Young (QB) of Texas, Devin Hester (CB/KR) of Miami and Michigan’s Steve Breaston (WR/KR). Davis, Texas A&M’s Reggie McNeal (QB), Skyler Green (WR/KR) of LSU, Boston College’s Will Blackmon (CB/KR) and Missouri’s Brad Smith (QB) rounded out the top-10.
Davis, from Mesquite, Texas, has been named to four pre-season first-team All-America squads. Last year, he earned All-America honors after establishing two NCAA records for kickoff returns. Davis set the single-season record for touchdowns on kickoff returns with five, and also established the record for returning a kick for a touchdown in consecutive games with four.
Davis enters the 2005 season needing just one touchdown on a kickoff return to tie Anthony Davis of USC (1972-74) for the NCAA career record with six touchdowns on kickoff returns a year ago. Davis had 37 kickoff returns for 1,131 yards and five touchdowns, while ranking first in the WAC and third in the nation in average kickoff return yardage with a 30.6 average. His kickoff returns for touchdowns covered 100 yards vs. Boise State, 94 yards vs. Nevada, 83 yards against Rice, 96 yards vs. SMU and 74 yards against UTEP.
Mills, from Jenks, is a two-time first-team all-Western Athletic Conference selection. He has led the team in receptions in each of the last two seasons, and in 2004 was the leader in receiving yards as well.
Mills caught 51 passes for 560 yards and two touchdowns during his junior season. Mills was also on the John Mackey Award Watch List last season, and is expected to make the preseason list this year. In his career, Mills has 114 receptions for 1,154 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has played in 37 career games and has caught a pass in 27 consecutive games, which is the longest current streak among the nation’s tight ends.