On Monday, the Texas Longhorns will tentatively host consensus four-star wide receiver Devin Duvernay, the nation's No. 36 player in the 247Sports Composite rankings. Also considering the TCU Horned Frogs, Duvernay is a Sachse product back on the market after the Baylor Bears never filed his NLI with the Big 12 office.
Once considered a Texas lean during parts of the process, Duvernay hasn't visited Austin since the arrival of new offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, who just so happens to run the same offense Duvernay wanted to play in at Baylor.
If the Longhorns are able to land Duvernay -- which could require at least a grayshirt offer for his twin brother, Donovan, who is still bound to the Bears by his NLI -- he would project as yet another impact contributor at wide receiver as a freshman.
The rankings don't lie
The 5'11, 195-pounder is the nation's No. 4 wide receiver and the services had good reason to rank him that highly. In Nike testing, Duvernay ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, posted a 4.24 shuttle time, and had a 37.7-inch vertical leap. On the track, he has a personal best of 10.27 in the 100m. By any and all accounts, Duvernay is extraordinarily fast.
At 195 pounds, he's also well built, drawing comparisons to running backs and former Baylor wide receiver Antwan Goodley, who is now 220 pounds. It's unlikely that Duvernay ever plays at that weight, but he does have some ability to get low and behind his pads to break tackles because of his sturdiness.
The interesting thing about Duvernay is that he has a rep as a guy who doesn't always display a lot of suddenness on the field -- somehow, he doesn't look quite as fast as he is. His stop/start ability doesn't look as awesome as it does for the most athletes in that category.
And yet, he's always running away from people because he can run a 10.27 100m. So maybe there's something about his running style that makes his speed a little bit deceptive to opponents, as often happens with taller players who can run in the 4.5 range.
Duvernay is much more than just a speed guy, however. The veer-and-shoot offense wouldn't ask him to know every route on the route tree -- mostly posts, go routes, hitches, and slants -- but Duvernay has a remarkable ability to set up defenders and change speeds on the routes that he does run.
Capable of adjusting his speed to move through zones with the proper timing for his quarterback on a rollout, Duvernay is also excellent on post routes and go routes giving little fakes and making small adjustments in speed and direction that make him even more difficult to defend.
Then defenders have to deal with his pure speed and it doesn't work particularly well.
And while Duvernay isn't a guy who will juke defenders out of their cleats in a phone booth, the beautiful little subtleties of his route-running ability on his best routes translate to his efforts with the ball in his hands, as he can also set up defenders and exploit small seams with unorthodox cuts.
One thing that Daje Johnson did incredibly well was maintain his speed while taking the edge. At times, Duvernay doesn't do that quite as well, but he can make up for it by chopping his feet to stay in bounds just when it looks like he won't be able to turn the corner.
But if Johnson was just a guy with track speed on the football, Duvernay can also help out his quarterback. Jalen Mayden is the prospective quarterback target for the 'Horns in 2018, but Duvernay spent a lot of time making him look good last year adjusting to and coming back to make difficult catches on underthrown balls. And there were certainly a number of them.
Despite all the wide receivers at Texas, Duvernay fills a need
Physically, the closest analog to Duvernay currently on the roster for the Longhorns is junior Armanti Foreman, with freshman Davion Curtis is also a guy who could occupy a role similar to Duvernay.
Foreman, however, isn't the same type of receiver, as he seems more comfortable playing outside, meaning that senior Jacorey Warrick and sophomore Ryan Newsome are the only two guys who have that prototypical slot receiver skill set of Duvernay, who is faster than Newsome. Likely the team's punt returner this year, the lack of reps for Newsome during the Orange and White game indicates that he's not a strong contender to crack a deep rotation this year.
So Duvernay is a guy who fits well into the Texas offense because his best attributes fit what Gilbert wants to do in the way that Duvernay once fit how former Baylor head coach Art Briles wanted to employ his skills in Waco.
Throw in the presence of rising freshman quarterback Shane Buechele and Texas has a lot to sell Duvernay on during that likely Monday visit.