Duke University is really not known for their football program but over the past few years, Donovan Varner the 5’9 speedster from Miami made a great impact on the football field. Donovan was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List this year after another stellar performance. Since 2009 his sophomore year, Varner has not had less than 60 receptions and has been able to show that he can be a possession receiver in the NCAA. He is a gritty player who grinds for the extra yardage, and has good footwork on the sidelines. Varner in his sophomore year was able to haul in 65 receptions for 1047 yards and was on a fast past for the Blue Devils Offense. Varner finished his last two seasons with 60 plus receptions and an additional 1400 yards over the two seasons. Varner has had a total of 14 touchdowns in his career at Duke and was a standout in high school for Gulliver Prep in Miami. Varner was rated as the 21st best athlete in the country by ESPN.com in 2007 and earned All-Dade County honors for football. I have had the pleasure of talking with Donovan over the past few months leading up to the draft, and figured I should let you get to know him a little better. This little man is ready to get his opportunity to shine on the football field.
What was your most memorable moment in high school playing for Gulliver Prep?
I would have to say going to the playoff game against American Heritage and beating them, 29-28. We had some good teammates like Patrick Robinson who was a 1st round pick of the New Orleans Saints and it was a just a great victory for us.
How many teams were recruiting you out of High School?
I had around 30 NCAA scholarship offers
Why did you choose Duke?
Scotty Montgomery the coach now of the Pittsburgh Steelers did a great job at recruiting me, plus it helped that my former teammate Thaddeus Lewis of the Cleveland Browns was the Quarterback and he did a great job at helping with my decision. When Coach Cutcliffe came in, I knew that they would be throwing the ball and I could get more receptions, and it worked out well.
What was your favorite college team growing up?
University of Miami, that’s my hometown team
Who was your favorite NFL player growing up?
I always admired HOFer Barry Sanders RB of the Detroit Lions
What was the most traumatic experience in your life that you ever had to experience, and how did you overcome that?
A few of my friends died at a very young age, I just used it as motivation to fight and get better
Do you have any pre game rituals?
I like to eat a spoonful of honey. It seems to get me right before the game
If you can meet one person dead or alive who would it be and why?
Penelope Cruz, that’s my baby there
If you were to go undrafted how would you react?
I would keep working really hard to get in the league, become a great player and hopefully a Hall of Famer.
Who was the toughest player you ever faced against?
I would have to say Da’Norris Searcy at UNC who plays for the Buffalo Bills, he was really good, and he played extremely tough and was aggressive.
Was the Battle of Florida a good experience for you?
I had a bunch of fun. There’s nothing like playing with the guys you grew up with and played against. It was fun to play football again in the State of Florida.
Have you had any pre draft visits?
I have only had one with my hometown team, The Phins on April 5th
I would like to thank Donovan Varner of Duke for a great interview that has a bright future in front of him. Good Luck and God Bless Donovan. Make sure to follow me on twitter @drocksthaparty