The cat is out of the bag as last season’s “secret weapon” Devaughn Vele stormed into spring camp and is on track to be one of the top offensive contributors for the 2022 season. A former walk-on, Vele has built on last year’s success and has consistently proven he’s ready to lead the wide receiver room and be one of quarterback Cameron Rising’s favorite targets.
During the 2021 campaign, Vele was a solid option on offense and was critical in the USC game with his dazzling touchdown just before halftime. However, despite appearing in all 14 games, Vele recorded just 23 catches (1.6 receptions per game) for 389 yards and just one TD. Obviously, Vele was significantly underutilized, but that’s all about to change.
Throughout spring camp, Vele captured nearly everyone’s attention with his impressive athleticism, sticky hands, and almost telepathic connection to Rising. Time and time again he proved he was the best receiver on the team and made difficult passing easy.
“I think I did pretty well,” Vele said. “There are still a few plays I could have made. I’m a big perfectionist when it comes to football, especially as a receiver. Any ball that touches my hands, I think I should catch it every time.”
Unsurprisingly, Vele caught the eye of wide receiver coach Chad Bumphis who praised the sophomore receiver, saying his abilities can “change the offense.”
“Confidence, he’s very confident, he’s seen himself make a few plays and he’s comfortable,” Bumphis said. “I don’t move him as much because it’s so easy for guys like him, he knows all three receiver spots… put him at X and let him get comfortable. He’s seen himself doing a few plays and it’s been more consistent. He can be that player for us and he’s special. He’s a 6’5″ guy with insane athleticism, incredible catching radius and he can do whatever we want him to do. he does and that changes the attack.”
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In addition to what Bumpis said, confidence was key for Vele as he took his game to another level, and it showed throughout camp. After watching him in multiple practices, a closed scrum and the spring game, Vele’s confidence showed through in his demeanor which helped him make plays few others would dream of. same.
“I’m proud to take it seriously. I particularly emphasize my confidence in my game… I know I can be a great receiver, but to really believe in that and have the confidence that I can do every day has been the biggest difference in the past few weeks…especially hearing rumors about how we were the weak point in the team.It definitely fueled me and pushed me to start making the plays that I I know I can do, but even the games nobody thinks I can do,” Vele said.
So, as the secret is out and Vele gets a lot more attention from defenses this fall, his contributions should skyrocket. If spring was any indication of how Rising and the offense plan to use Vele, he could very well see his yards double or more from last year. Plus, given his 6-foot-5 height and elite athleticism, he could very well be a fixture in the red zone as he’s shown the ability to go for the passes that few others can. .
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