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Chris Davis' high school coach says he's a natural punt returner

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Davis (number 11) starts his 109-yard return run. Source: WBRC file video Davis (number 11) starts his 109-yard return run. Source: WBRC file video
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Chris Davis' high school coach says he isn't surprised Davis made a game-winning return in the Iron Bowl.

Coach Bruce Breland says Davis is a natural return player.

Davis was at the center of the play that left half of Alabama stunned and the other half cheering. You know the play: Auburn's Chris Davis returned the kick 109 yards for the game winning touchdown.

Fans who don't know Davis couldn't believe what they were seeing, but those who know Davis aren't surprised at all.

"Great things always happen when the ball is in his hands," said Bruce Breland, who coached Davis at Woodlawn High School. "If you ever watched him play high school ball everybody knows he was just a phenomenal return guy."

Breland says Malzahn saw the talent in Davis, a talent that had been overlooked by the previous Auburn coach. Breland was at the game and watched as Davis took off.

"I was hoping if he could just get some space and break out, and then when I saw the block that set up the return I thought wow he's got a chance here," he said.

And a side note: the block Breland is talking about came from Auburn Player #8, Cassanova McKinzy. McKinzy and Davis played together at Woodlawn.

Breland talks about what it was like to coach Davis in high school.

"You didn't have to be a great coach to know he was a very special football player or just athlete period," said Breland. "He was quiet, didn't show a lot of emotion. But the thing that was so impressive about him was his level of being a competitor and his expectations of himself to not only compete but to succeed."

And when asked if Breland taught Davis to run a ball back like that, his response came with laughter.

"Of course I did, every bit of it," he said.

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