New Ravens receiver Devin Duvernay says it’s “almost unthinkable” that he’ll be playing with Lamar Jackson in Baltimore, is excited to be teammates again with former Texas teammate DeShon Elliott and knows there’s one way to get back at cousin Kyler Murray for beating him in the Big 12 championship game in 2018.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Duvernay was picked in the third round (No. 92 overall) by the Ravens in the 2020 NFL Draft. He enjoyed a breakout season at Texas in 2019, catching 106 passes for 1,386 yards and nine touchdowns. He’ll join a wide receiver corps in Baltimore that includes veteran Willie Snead and second-year men Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin.
Duvernay will catch passes from reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, who threw for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns and had just six interceptions last year. Duvernay ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, perhaps giving Jackson just what he needed in the slot.
“It’s crazy. It’s still kind of surreal that I’m going to the NFL — going to the Ravens, a good organization, playing with Lamar Jackson,” Duvernay said on Glenn Clark Radio April 28. “That’s almost unthinkable.”
Duvernay caught 176 passes for 2,468 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Longhorns from 2016-2019. His hands are what stood out the most during his time in Austin, Texas. He had just five drops in his 244 targets, according to Pro Football Focus, and was the most sure-handed Power Five receiver the past two years.
Duvernay joked that he gets all of his drops out of the way during practice so he catches everything in games.
“I definitely still remember some I dropped in practice, maybe lost focus or wasn’t all the way locked in or something like that,” Duvernay said. “But it definitely gets at me. I take pride in catching the ball. … My hands are my moneymakers. Gotta catch ’em all.”
Once the Ravens are able to report to Owings Mills, Md., Duvernay will join three other former Longhorns at the team facility: safeties Earl Thomas and DeShon Elliot and kicker Justin Tucker. Duvernay and Elliott were both at Texas from 2016-2017, with Duvernay catching 29 passes during those two years and Elliott grabbing seven interceptions. The Longhorns went 5-7 in 2016 and 7-6 in 2017.
Duvernay and Elliott have known each other dating back to their high school days in Texas — Duvernay went to Sachse High, while Elliott attended Rockwall-Heath High – and their relationship strengthened with the Longhorns. Knowing a third-year Raven won’t hurt Duvernay when trying to get up to speed during the coronavirus-affected offseason, either.
“We were great friends in college. We hung out in our free time and things like that. We have a great relationship,” Duvernay said. “He called me right after I got drafted, talked to him and he gave me a rundown of everything and he’ll be there for me when I need help or need to know something about this or that. Being able to talk to him is real cool, especially him being a great friend of mine. But it’s cool to be able to be back on the team with him.”
So who got the better of it in practice when Duvernay and Elliott matched up?
“Oh, me,” Duvernay said.
Duvernay is part of a football family; his twin brother, Donovan, was a defensive back at Texas from 2016-2019. Their cousin, Kyler Murray, was the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NFL Draft and went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year with the Arizona Cardinals. Murray threw for 3,722 yards and 20 touchdowns on 64.4 percent passing last year.
Murray won the Heisman Trophy as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback in 2018 before moving on to the NFL. He led the Sooners to a 12-2 record and a spot in the College Football Playoff, where they lost to Alabama in a semifinal matchup. Oklahoma’s other loss came to Duvernay’s Texas squad in the regular season, but the Sooners beat the Longhorns in the Big 12 championship game.
“I remember him talking about it. He said, ‘Well, we won the one that mattered,” Duvernay said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, he got us on that.’ But it’s all love in the end.”
The Ravens and Cardinals aren’t scheduled to play each other the next three years, so there’s only one way Duvernay will be able to avenge that Big 12 title for the foreseeable future: the Super Bowl.
“Just thinking about that happening, if that happened, that’d be crazy — something you almost never think of,” Duvernay said.
To hear more from Duvernay, including what it’s like to have Texas fan Matthew McConaughey around the program, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Texas Athletics