Keenan Davis seeks NFL opportunity

Former Hawkeye, CR Washington all-state receiver could know his future home in two weeks

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March 28, 2014 | 1:57 pm

IOWA CITY — Keenan Davis’ offseason didn’t include much down time.

The former Iowa wide receiver trained with ex-NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb in Arizona, spent a week in Florida practicing for the East-West Shrine Game and since has split time between his final semester of studies and working out for a shot at the NFL. But the Davis wouldn’t have it any other way.

In two weeks he’ll likely know his football home this summer. In a month he’ll graduate from Iowa. It’s an exciting period of time for the 22-year-old Cedar Rapids Washington graduate.

“I’m really excited to see in the next month where I’m going to be and start a new life,” Davis said. “I’m excited for me, my family and all my friends to be able to experience all of this.”

The NFL conducts its annual draft April 25-27. It’s possible Davis could be a late-round selection or most likely sign a free-agent deal immediately after the draft. But Davis is less concerned about when he’s selected just as long as he gets an opportunity.

“I just want a chance to play. It’s my dream,” Davis said. “I’ve wanted to play in there since I was a kid. I don’t care if I go free agent. It’s a chance to go compete. As far as location, it would be nice to be close to family, but if I’ve got to go somewhere far, I’ll go somewhere far.”

Davis started two seasons at Iowa and caught 112 passes for 1,470 yards in his career. He totaled 97 catches in his final two years. But after a 50-catch season as a junior, Davis — like Iowa’s offense as a whole — struggled to get on track his senior year. He caught just one touchdown pass in a season where Iowa totaled seven.

Davis has talked about the team’s performance with scouts and coaches, some of whom want to know more about Iowa’s offensive problems.

“I tell them it’s football. It happens,” Davis said. “I tell them we played our hearts out; it’s just the minor details that we didn’t execute. I take it as a learning experience. I think all of us, even the players still playing, can make it into a positive because we all don’t want to feel that way again. I’ll just take it as it is and make it better.”

Davis has put last season in the rearview mirror and focused on his future. He works daily running routes for former Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg. Davis focuses on agility, hand-eye coordination and speed, which showed up on Iowa’s pro day. Davis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds, the same time as Michigan’s Denard Robinson. Davis’ time tied for 27th among the 130 receiver prospects listed by Dan Shonka in his annual Ourlads scouting guide. Only Tennessee’s Cordelle Patterson — the top receiver prospect — can match Davis’ size (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) and run faster.

Shonka, president and national scout of Ourlads, helped select players for the East-West Shrine Game. Shonka said Davis projects as a vertical receiver with his size and speed.

“A lot of the scouts there thought he had a good week of practice and did a good job and showed good foot quickness,” Shonka said. “He’s got some of the raw skills. My guess is he’ll be signed as a free agent and put on a practice squad, but people will always remember he ran 4.41. If they think he can run like that, they’re going to give him a chance.”

Davis has worked out for the New England Patriots and has fielded phone calls from other NFL teams this spring. He talked with former teammate Marvin McNutt, a Philadelphia Eagles sixth-round pick last year, about his prospects. But until April 27, it’s the waiting game for Davis. It’s going to be a long two weeks.

“I’m just ready for the chance to go compete,” he said. 

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