From Eagle to Owl: Junior baseball player commits to Rice University


Courtesy of Jacob Devenny

In one of his Instagram posts, Jacob Devenny stands ready to bat. A Rice University logo claims the background space. Devenny committed to Rice on Sept. 16. “I was talking to a couple other schools, and I just decided that Rice was where I wanted to go,” Devenny said. “I mean, they’re the finest university in Texas, and they have a great baseball program. If I have a degree from there, I can get a job at a lot of places.”


After tearing his posterior cruciate ligament and meniscus the summer after his freshman year, junior Jacob Devenny said he saw his chances of being recruited for baseball whither away – so when Rice University gave him his first college offer, it was a dream come true.

Devenny announced his commitment to Rice University Sept. 16, and he looks to continue his academic and baseball career.

“I was talking to a couple other schools, and I just decided that Rice was where I wanted to go,” Devenny said. “I mean, they’re the finest university in Texas, and they have a great baseball program. If I have a degree from there, I can get a job at a lot of places.”

The junior outfielder said he found his passion for baseball at a young age and played through both high school and club teams.

“I’ve been playing since I was probably 5, and really just practicing with my dad, playing with my little brother, and just all that kept my love for the game going, and I just have fun every day that I play baseball,” Devenny said. “I can’t imagine not ever being interested in it.”

Devenny described the recruiting process as a “struggle” because of his medical setback and lack of communication with college coaches.

“It was really nerve-wracking just cause that was the first coach I talked to, and it was the first summer that I got to be recruited,” Devenny said. “Sometimes I felt like they (Rice) were losing interest, but in the end, they ended up offering me, and I just committed there.”

While Devenny said he hopes to take his love for baseball into the major leagues, he sees Rice as an opportunity to prepare for a different future, as well.

“I would love to continue baseball after college, but the percentage of that is slim to nothing,” Devenny said. “So I’m happy that I have a backup plan, and it’s a really good backup plan if everything doesn’t work out. But, obviously, my main goal is making it in baseball.”

Assistant baseball coach James Wilson said Devenny’s work ethic and positive attitude make him a key player and “inspiring” student.

“JD’s just a great competitor,” Wilson said. When he gets out there, he plays hard every minute of every game. He’s a good leader as far as sportsmanship, and it’s hard to see some of that maybe out on the field. But, you know by the way he carries himself and conducts himself that he’s a positive leader. Not only is he a leader, he always leads in a positive way.”

Wilson said he sees Devenny’s commitment to the game as an inspiration for his fellow teammates and an important element of his success.

Holding his mitt in the air, junior Jacob Devenny makes a pop fly out in center field, ending the inning. Devenny announced that he will be playing for the Rice University baseball team starting Fall of 2022. The team’s next game will be at home on Feb. 13, at 11:00 a.m. (Emily Reish)

“You always have players that are going to leave an impression and a mark on you as a coach,” Wilson said. “You know what I love about him is how hard he works. He’s that kind of person that wants to be a perfectionist. He’s super smart, and he goes out there and he wants to lead by example, and he wants to help inspire others to elevate their level of play as well. I think that’s what I like most about him and will remember about him.”

Senior varsity baseball player Case Pettis said that Devenny is a respectful team player on and off the field and keeps his mind on the game at all times.

“JD hustles more than anyone I’ve seen and treats everyone with respect,” Pettis said. “He’s constantly locked into the game from the first pitch to the last.”

Pettis said that he’s always respected Devenny because of his high level of self-management and sportsmanship.

“No matter what happens in a game, you’ll never be able to see it on his face,” Pettis said. “He never shows bad body language, which is something I’ve always respected about him.”

Devenny said he finds that being successful in his career comes from not only hours of hard work, but also enjoying the journey that comes with it.

“My key to success is just finding something that you love and work as hard as you can at that while still having fun,” Devenny said. “It’s much easier to succeed in something that you have fun with and that you want to do every day.”