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Texas WR Devin Duvernay emerging as a credible deep threat

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Two games. Two huge plays.

Texas v California Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

High expectations accompanied Texas Longhorns wide receiver Devin Duvernay to Austin as one of the summer additions from the Baylor Bears, a result of his 10.27 speed in the 100 meters and ranking as the consensus No. 4 wide receiver in the country.

Six games into the 5’11, 195-pounder’s college career, he’s already emerging as the team’s most dangerous deep threat with wide receiver John Burt mostly sidelined because of injuries and ineffectiveness.

Against Iowa State, Duvernay provided one of the game’s biggest plays, a 75-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter as the ‘Horns pulled away from the Iowa State Cyclones for a much-needed victory.

In finishing with a career-high four catches for a career-high 96 yards and that touchdown, Duvernay became the second Texas player to earn Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors. He joined two-time winner Shane Buechele, the standout freshman quarterback who delivered the on-target pass to his streaking target.

The longest play of the season for the ‘Horns — and the sixth-longest touchdown reception in school history — came on what is becoming the Sachse product’s signature route.

A switch or wheel route from the slot, it not only attacks the defense vertically with Duvernay’s straight-line speed, it’s also an effective man-beater route that showcases an even more elite ability — maintaining top speed as the takes the corner or makes a cut.

The final element of Duvernay’s skill set that helped him score the touchdown is his strength and low center of gravity. The only Iowa State defender with a chance to stop Duvernay actually did an incredible job of taking the correct angle and even made a solid effort at wrapping up the sturdy freshman.

But since Duvernay is built like a running back with his strong lower body and excellent balance, the Cyclones player barely slowed the Longhorns wide receiver down on his way to the end zone. It certainly wasn’t enough to allow the torched cornerback to recover.

The long reception provided further evidence to the belief that Duvernay will continue to emerge during the conference season.

In the Cotton Bowl the previous week, Duvernay played a big role in another second-half surge that nearly propelled Texas to a second upset victory against Oklahoma.

The 63-yard touchdown also came on a switch route and beat Sooners cornerback Jordan Thomas, who saved several other touchdowns on the day with his ball skills. However, the pure speed of Duvernay was too much for Thomas, as it would be too much for virtually any other cornerback in college football.

So as long as offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert keeps dialing up those switch routes several times a game and Buechele can put the ball on target, Duvernay should be able to keep producing big plays on that route.

He’s just that good.