Sunday Senior Showcase: Duvernay, Anae Make Statements

Photo: © Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Offense: Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas

Man, Devin Duvernay just continues to be that dude. He leads the Big 12 and is second nationally with receptions only to Pitt WR Maurice Ffrench. That volume puts him among the Top-5 for almost every receiving category in the Big 12 -- but just getting a lot of targets isn't impressive in and of itself.

Duvernay continues to be the failsafe button for the Longhorns -- the "break glass in case of emergency" players. He's QB Sam Ehlinger's favorite 3rd down target and the go-to option when they need a big play, such as his 43-yard TD in the middle of the third quarter to extend a lead Texas had only gotten off of his 14-yard touchdown the drive previous. A track star in the state of Texas who is accordingly a deep threat and an effective short receiver, Duvernay has slowly developed the ancillary tools to become a consummate, pro-ready WR. He has sticky hands, ball-carrier vision, RB thickness, blue-collar toughness.

Duvernay wasn't on most radars coming into the season, but Senior Bowl was quick to tag him as a top WR target next to teammate Collin Johnson, and Duvernay seems to have passed Johnson in terms of NFL Draft stock across the first half of the 2019 season. For as long as he continues to produce as he did in a shootout against Kansas (weird sentence!), he'll continue to play his way into Day 2 consideration.

Defense: Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah

So maybe three sacks is good!

Anae's been a little quiet this season, with an explosive early September performance against Northern Illinois (three sacks) and then only one sack across his next four performances. That total number put 2018's Pac-12 leader in sacks tied with a few names for second in the conference, but this statement win of Arizona State will put Anae right back on top as he looks to repeat on his conference crown.

Why did such a dominant junior return to school for his senior year? Anae wanted to keep that Utah defense strong as they positioned themselves for a run at the Pac-12 title; games like this were the spirit of that vision. No. 17 Arizona State put up only 3 points as Utah has now dominated three Pac-12 opponents following a faceplant to open conference play against USC. Utah catches Washington in two weeks, in what will undoubtedly be another ranked matchup. With USC on pace with a win over Arizona last night, the Utes can't afford to drop another conference game if they want to win the south and take that swing at the conference title.

To get through the back half of the season, Utah needs more performances from its defensive captain like the one it got tonight; and for Anae to position himself as one of the top EDGE rushers and a key player in the 2020 Senior Bowl, he needs these performances as well.