Devlin attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he played baseball and football. As a senior in 1900, he served as the team captain. He was a standout back, and in 1900 was considered competitive for the Walter Camp All-American team if it had not been restricted to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton players.
He served as the head football coach at North Carolina A&M, now North Carolina State, for the 1902 and 1903 seasons. During that time, Devlin's teams compiled a 7–8–2 record for a winning percentage of .471.