The last couple of season’s at Texas have seen great wide receivers step up to the forefront and dominate in the conference. Lil’Jordan Humphrey last season was a stud before going pro. The school somehow retained early round prospect Collin Johnson as well. However, the guy on the roster that people really need to be talking about is the 5’11” 210 pound Devin Duvernay, a tough, physical runner after the catch and a deep threat on every play.
When I say tough, I mean plowed through (arguably the best safety in the nation) LSU’s All-American Grant Delpit kind of tough. When I say physical, I mean breaking tackles like a running back over defensive backs while racing down the sideline. The man is a physical freak.
While most of the attention in Texas goes to quarterback Sam Ehlinger and wide receiver Collin Johnson, let’s take a few minutes to dive into Devin Duvernay and see why he could be the best out of the group.
Devin Duvernay before this season
It’s strange that not many people knew who Duvernay was before the season. We all know how much American’s like their stats, so here are a few for you.
Entering this season, Duvernay had played in a grand total of 32 career games, catching 70 passes and 10 scores. People in NFL Draft media had started to notice Duvernay slightly because of a couple of highlight catches that he made in 2018.
I don’t know much about Devin Duvernay (WR 6) from Texas but he’s got my attention after this diving catch! He had 41 receptions for 546 yards and four touchdowns in 2018. Could be a nice weapon for Sam Ehlinger and a solid compliment to Collin Johnson for this offense. #HookEm pic.twitter.com/D6YYShXw4X
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) June 9, 2019
The first one was in the season opener, when Duvernay beat the cornerback off of the line of scrimmage and fully extended to make the diving catch in the end zone. It flashed brilliant speed, great hands and the ability to stretch the field. Ehlinger, if you didn’t notice, slightly overthrew him but he still brought in the fingertip catch.
The other play that people remember is when Duvernay took off down the sideline against Iowa State, a game Texas narrowly won on a Friday afternoon in November.
— David Allen (@Doc_Texas) June 17, 2019
It’s a wheel route concept that Duvernay has the speed to pull off. Iowa State bit on the flat, expecting the screen pass, and Duvernay was gone. You see, people thought that Devin Duvernay was a speed guy. Hehe… Boy, were y’all wrong.
Devin Duvernay may be one of the most physical players in all of college football, and he plays wide receiver!
Devin Duvernay RAN THROUGH Grant Delpit. pic.twitter.com/gpghzQA1QN
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) September 8, 2019
Against LSU, Duvernay was Sam Ehlinger’s top option from the pocket. The Tigers were unable to cover him, so he got the ball, and got the ball a lot. Duvernay caught 12 passes for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was flat out physical all day. The play above, Duvernay runs over All-American safety Grant Delpit before moving on to attempt to bulldoze another All-SEC linebacker in Michael Divinity.
Not only does Duvernay have the toughness, but he is quick, and so fast that he breaks angles that defenders have to tackle him. Again, against LSU, Duvernay simply accelerates, breaks the arm tackle (let’s be real, an arm tackle isn’t bringing this guy down) because the defenders misjudge his acceleration and take a bad angle on him. They miss, and in cover zero there is no defender playing deep to stop him.
#LSU dares Sam Ehlinger to throw this ball. They show Cover 0 (they drop a DT into coverage after the snap), but Ehlinger calmly and quickly hits WR #6 Devin Duvernay. Duvernay’s been a monster after the catch all day, and one arm tackle later he’s in the endzone. #HookEm pic.twitter.com/ckmjM8nXdf
— Fed Scivittaro (@MeshPointScout) September 8, 2019
It’s simple. Speed and athleticism rules the field when it is used properly.
What to watch for with Devin Duvernay
Right now, Devin is producing at astonishing levels. He’s got 39 catches this season for 377 yards and 4 touchdowns through 4 games. Duvernay will continue to produce, as well as raise his NFL Draft stock, with time over the course of the season. Once teams realize he is out there, he will get a lot of attention.
Keep watching to see more physical play. Physical receivers of his stature were desired by NFL teams last season. His physiques compare to former Ole Miss receiver AJ Brown (now Tennessee Titan) and former South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel (now San Francisco 49er). Duvernay is in the same category as those guys, who were both second round picks last year, except he might be faster.
Duvernay has nowhere to go but up.