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Texas DB Donovan Duvernay can learn from D’Onta Foreman’s example

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The lower-rated Duvernay twin could benefit from the success story of the lower-rated Foreman twin.

Donovan Duvernay
Texas athletics

D’Onta Foreman knows what it’s like to be in the position of Texas Longhorns freshman defensive back Devin Duvernay.

Several years ago, the junior running back was on a visit in Austin with his highly-rated twin brother, Armanti, and their father. When the Foremans met with former head coach Mack Brown and co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, all the focus was on Armanti.

"They kept talking to my brother and I'm just sitting there like, ‘Okay.'"

Things got even worse for D'Onta.

"Then they said they were going to offer me," Foreman recalled. "I sat there, but I didn't get the offer. I left, and I was hurt."

Eventually it came before D’Onta’s senior season, but he still used the long wait as motivation.

"I didn't get the satisfaction that I feel like I should have gotten," Foreman said. "I used that last year and this year to go out there and just show the world who I really am and what I have."

As a senior, Foreman produced 2,102 yards and 31 touchdowns on 202 carries as a senior, an average of more than 10 yards per carry and a touchdown on every 6.5 times he received a handoff.

Not only did Foreman gain 100 or more yards rushing in every game but one, he also returned kickoffs, including a 99-yard touchdown return, and posted 12 tackles for loss, five sacks, and an interception on defense.

Yet, even with that production, Rivals still ranked D’Onta as a two-star prospect. Even 247Sports ranked 142 players ahead of Foreman in the state of Texas in 2014. Running backs who signed with Old Dominion, UTEP, San Diego State, Louisiana Tech, and UMass all ranked higher than Foreman, who was considered the No. 67 player nationally at his position, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

In the 2016 class, it was Donovan who was left out as Texas pursued his more highly-rated brother, Devin, also a wide receiver. Initially, the ‘Horns were in a strong position with Devin, but when head coach Charlie Strong and his staff declined to offer Donovan, the twins signed with Baylor.

Then the scandal broke, Devin realized that the Bears had never even submitted his National Letter of Intent, and he committed to Texas with the assurance that Donovan would be able to join him. The lesser-rated twin finally had that offer from the Longhorns once again.

Like D’Onta, Donovan also suffered from a negative perception by the services, as evidenced by the final Composite rankings — he finished as the No. 886 player overall, the No. 61 athlete, and the No. 113 player in Texas.

Like D’Onta, Donovan now has to prove all the doubters wrong and the Foreman twin who is now one half of the Smash Brothers duo and the only player in Texas history with two runs of 80 yards or more in the same season could be an excellent role model for Donovan, who has so many doubters to prove wrong himself.

After the discussion about using recruiting snubs as motivation, the next lesson could be about frustration with playing time.

"No, sir. I do what I'm asked to do," Foreman said last fall. "I just go out there and play hard every game. That's all."

Count that for practice, too.

Duvernay has a difficult depth chart to deal with defensively, just as he would offensively, but at 5’9 and 185 pounds with a vertical leap that is a full 10 inches lower than his twin brother, he doesn’t have the physical advantages that the 249-pound Foreman possesses.

So there is a little bit more to overcome.

However, Duvernay is a player who often grows on evaluators and possesses some ball skills to utilize all of his available physical attributes and should have the aforementioned cause for motivation.

Donovan also has some upside because he didn’t play as much defensive back as a senior as he did as a junior, when he had 42 tackles, six pass break ups, and two interceptions on that side of the ball. Plus two kickoff return touchdowns, one of which went for 93 yards.

During his sophomore season, he was an even bigger contributor on defense with 62 tackles, seven pass break ups, and three interceptions, giving some evidence of the numbers that he could pick up when not splitting his focus at wide receiver.

As a potential nickel back or safety, Duvernay has the suddenness and lateral agility to make up for a lack of the long speed that his twin brother possesses, and shows some evidence of toughness and physicality.

Given the lesson provided by the lower-rated Foreman, perhaps one shouldn’t write off the lower-rated Duvernay too quickly.