Nov 26, 2010; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Noel Devine (7) runs in the open field against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. West Virginia won 35-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE
Hometown: Fort Myers, FL
Record: 29-16-2, Bowl Record: 0-2
How Noel Devine ended up at West Virginia is beyond comprehension. Being a Floridian, he was lined up to become a Seminole, Hurricane, or a Gator. Deion Sanders was his close, personal mentor and was no doubt steering him towards Florida State. Devine came to West Virginia to follow in the foot-steps of Steve Slaton as the next featured rusher in Coach Rodriguez’s offense. Devine got limited carries as a freshman, but made the most of them. In the Maryland game, he would go for 136 yards on just 5 carries. After sitting behind Slaton for a season, he assumed the role of starting running back for Coach Stewart’s new look offense. Coach Stewart’s more pro-style offense did not really fit the skill set of Devine, and he often looked like he was out of place during his sophomore season. Devine would settle into the new offensive system and tally some impressive rushing totals. He finished his Mountaineer career with 4,315 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns. Devine’s excellent performances earned All- Big East honors in 2009.
Memorable Game: Noel Devine had a knack for stepping up his performance in big games, and he did just that when SEC powerhouse Auburn came to town in 2008. Milan Puskar Stadium was rocking that night as the fans were anxious to help the Mountaineers to a major victory. Pat White and Noel Devine looked to keep Auburn guessing in the zone read option running game. The Mountaineers would start slowly, giving up an early 10 point lead to the Tigers. Devine would give the Mountaineers a solid rushing performance, keeping Auburn’s defense on its heels. West Virginia, behind Devine’s rushing and White’s passing, would take control of the game in the second quarter. The Mountaineers cut Auburn’s lead to 17-14 at half time. Devine put up 207 yards rushing and a touchdown in powering the Mountaineers to a 20 point romp in the second. Auburn just could not make a tackle in the second half. West Virginia finished off Auburn with a 34-17 final score.
Competition: Devine was an easy selection for #7 on the countdown. He is easily the highest profile prospect to commit to West Virginia in recent history. It’s not like a player like Brandon Myles could have unseated Devine here.
Teaser: Tomorrow we look back to the outstanding career of one the most ferocious defenders in West Virginia history. This player was a dominant linebacker that stood out on good Mountaineer defenses. Unlike Wile E Coyote, this guy killed his targets.