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Inside the Gameplan: The Duve in the slot

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One of the big storylines out of fall camp so far is the move of senior wideout Devin Duvernay from the outside “Z” receiver position to the slot “H” spot that was left vacant when Lil’Jordan Humphrey decided to leave school early for the NFL. Over the last few years, vacancies at the H spot have almost served as a reward position for whichever receiver has the best offseason. Other than the X receiver, who also enjoys closer proximity to the QB, the H is the next closest skill player to the QB and also tends to be matched up on nickels, safeties, and linebackers with divided attention.

Consequently, the H is not a spot that you just fill with a “type” and hope for the best. It’s a spot in the spread offense that is typically manned by one of the offense’s best players. It’s a good position to play if you want to be heavily involved in the offense. The “Percy Harvin type” is typical for the position in many run-centric spread offenses like the Texas attack. In spread passing offenses it’s more common to find a Jordan Shipley or Sterling Shepard “type.”

Texas has ostensibly recruited to the H spot with the prototypical “RB/WR” hybrid types that are dangerous in space, but young recruits like Josh Moore and Jake Smith don’t appear ready to have a feature role while Jordan Whittington might have had a shot were he not the No. 2 RB. If Duvernay is moving to H for this season that suggests that he’s going to be a major part of Texas’ plans this coming year and that they’d rather move him to the H than move the focus of the offense out wide to the Z.

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History major, football theorist.