PRO 2020 Rookie Spotlight: Devin Duvernay, WR Texas

Rookie Spotlight: Devin Duvernay, Texas
Height: 5’ 10 1/2” (official)
Weight: 202 lbs (official)
Hands: 9”
Arm: 30 ⅜”
40 yard dash: 4.38 (unofficial)
NFL Comparison: Deebo Samuel

Pros
– strong RAC
– elite long-speed
– runs with a head of steam and falls forward
– excellent tracking the ball in air
– explosive in the open field
– built like a running back

Cons
– limited route tree
– throws body rather than blocks
– did not flash like he should have during Senior Bowl week

2019 Team Market Share Numbers

35% team receptions
37% team receiving yards
28% team receiving touchdowns

Scouting Notes: Duvernay was for the Longhorns what Collin Johnson never was, at least for the 2019 season when he had almost 1,400 yards and 9 TDs. Duvernay played mainly out of the slot at during his senior season at UT, and in deep-shot flanker role before that, and that’s probably one of the reasons his route tree is as limited as it is. He mostly ran a slant and a seam-route, with some gadget plays thrown in here and there. Occasionally, you’ll see him get matched up on nickel corners with a two-way go, but his primary mode of operation has always been as more of a deep threat and lid-popper despite where he lines up. It’s a limitation, but it also lends to his ability to be a playmaker on the field – Just get the ball in his hands and let him do the rest. Duvernay’s most dangerous after the catch, where he has a knack for finding the right angles and gunning it past defenders – he’s almost sure to run a sub 4.4 forty as a former Texas state champion in the 100-meter dash.

Built like a running back with a thick trunk and compact torso, Duvernay reminds you a bit of Kareem Hunt in the way he carries the ball. He runs with a head of steam, leaning forward and usually picking up several extra yards when he’s tackled, as he falls forward most of the time. Texas head coach Tom Herman says that Duvernay “wears armor,” and it’s an apt description for a guy who isn’t necessarily your typical size for a physical open-field runner. He carries his 202 pounds in a very substantial way as evidenced by the fact that, coming into the final week of the NCAA regular season, no player in all of college football had more brokne tackles than Duvernay in 2019 (21). (Jauan Jennings of Tennesse did finish the season and bowl games with the most, also per PFF).

Another one of Duvernay’s talents is tracking the ball in the air. Several of his 9 TDs in 2019 came off of back shoulder fades in the end zone or at the edges of seam routes where he caught the ball mid stride behind his coverage. Duvernay’s unrestrained play carries over to his blocking, where he tends to throw himself at defenders rather than stand and block them. He’ll need to work on this area of his game at the next level if he wants to stay on the field continuously. His Senior Bowl week was disappointing. Duvernay, as a prospect — given his ability to separate with speed and having such sticky hands — seems like a tailor-made match for the 1v1 drills in Mobile where the corner does not have the advantage of safety help over the top. Not seeing him thrive in these circumstances against the highest possible senior competition throws up a small red flag.

Fantasy Outlook: Some view Duvernay as a smaller, poor man’s version of Laviska Shenault Jr. If that’s the case, that bodes well for his chances of at least a third round pick in the draft. A quiet week at the Senior Bowl didn’t help his stock, but the NFL combine certainly could if he puts his track-star speed on display. Teams are all about the big play backs that they can utilize all over the field these days, and Duvernay has the makings of one – He’s basically a running back that catches passes. He’s fast and explosive with sticky hands, but he needs work on his mechanics if he wants to beat the NFL press, and his blocking will have to improve. At worse, he’ll be a specialist, best suited in DFS tournaments rather than season-long play.

From the Texas Athletic Department:

SENIOR (2019)
Played in and started in 12 games …earned first-team All-Big 12 honors for the first time in his career … was honorable mention as Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year … a semifinalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award … was named the Biletnikoff Award’s midseason watch list … Has caught 103 passes for 1,249 yards and eight touchdowns … His 103 receptions and 8.6 receptions per game are the top mark among all FBS receivers in 2019 … His 1,249 receiving yards place him fourth nationally … He leads all Big 12 receivers in catches, catches per game, receiving yards, receiving yards per game and is third in receiving touchdowns … His 103 passes and 1,249 receiving yards are the second-best marks in school history, behind only Jordan Shipley (2009) … Also rushed nine times for 34 yards and one touchdown … Opened his senior season with nine catches for 55 yards and one touchdown vs. Louisiana Tech … Followed it up with 12 catches for 154 yards and two scores vs. No. 6 LSU … All three of his marks were career highs at the time, and earned him Big 12 Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors (Sept. 9) … Caught 11 of his 12 receptions in the second half against the Tigers, setting a Texas record for the most receptions in a half … Logged 60 receiving yards on six catches at Rice … Posted his second 100-yard game and second 12-catch game of the year with a 12-catch, 108-yard outing in Texas’ Big 12 opener vs. Oklahoma State … Also scored a touchdown vs. the Cowboys to mark the 100th reception of his career … Is one of only two players in the FBS with multiple 12-catch games … Made six catches for 86 yards at West Virginia … Scored on a 13-yard rushing touchdown – the first of his career – against the Mountaineers … Hauled in eight passes form QB Sam Ehlinger for 54 yards in the 2019 AT&T Red River Showdown vs. No. 6 Oklahoma … Caught eight passes for 110 yards and tied his career high with two receiving touchdowns vs. Kansas … Logged eight catches for a career-high 179 yards and one score at TCU … Caught a 47-yard touchdown from QB Sam Ehlinger, the sixth 40-yard touchdown of his career … Also recorded a 63-yard reception vs. the Horned Frogs, the second-longest by a Longhorn in 2019 … His 69 catches and 800 yards through eight games are the most by a Texas receiver through eight games in school history … Was the 11th Big 12 receiver with 65-plus catches, 800-plus receiving yards and more than five receiving touchdowns through eight games in the last 20 seasons … Caught nine passes for 110 yards against No. 16 Kansas State … Made 78 catches through the first nine games of the season, placing him alongside Jordan Shipley (2009) as the only Longhorns with at least 75 catches through nine games in school history … Hauled in nine passes for 107 yards at Iowa State … His performance in Ames pushed him past 2,000 yards for his career … The tenth 2,000-yard receiver in Texas history … Also pushed him over 1,000 yards for the season … The tenth 1,000-yard season in UT history … Only the second Longhorn to reach 1,000 receiving yards in 10 games or less (Jordan Shipley, 2009) … Marked his fourth-straight game with at least 100 receiving yards … That is the longest stretch by a Longhorn since Roy Williams did so in seven-straight games across the 2002 and 2003 seasons … His sixth 100-yard game of the season, the most since Jordan Shipley had seven in 2009 … Caught 10 passes for 78 yards against No. 13 Baylor … Marked his fourth game with double-digit catches this season, the most by a Longhorn since Shipley did so six times 2009 … Also was his ninth game with at least eight catches, the most in school history … Has made at least six catches in all 12 games … Is the first Longhorn to make at least six catches in the first 12 games of the season since Kwame Cavil in 1999.

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