2016 NFL DRAFT
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Noel Devine

| | College: West Virginia
 
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Overview

Devine does not have prototypical size scouts look for in an NFL running back. But judging his NFL potential based on his size alone would be a major mistake. His track speed and innate ability to elude defenders in the open field makes him extremely difficult to defend.

It didn't take long for college defensive coordinators to figure that out, as Devine was named the team's top rookie as a freshman. In 12 games, he ran for 627 yards on only 73 carries, an amazing 8.6-yard average, with six scores. He also had seven catches for 90 yards and led the team with a 23.2-yard kickoff-return average. He was second-team all-Big East after he ran for 1,286 yards (6.3-yard average) and four touchdowns and caught 35 catches for 186 yards as a sophomore. His 2009 season cemented his spot as a top prospect; he was WVU's co-Offensive MVP (with fellow senior RB/WR Jock Sanders) and a consensus first-team all-conference pick after running for 1,486 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns in addition to making 22 receptions for 177 yards and another score.

Unfortunately, Devine struggled with a toe injury through most of 2010. He managed only 934 yards and six scores in his senior season, though he played through the pain. When healthy, he is a legitimate breakaway threat who runs much stronger than his size indicates. If he can prove to scouts that he has overcome a rough childhood and off-field incident his freshman year to mature during his time in Morgantown, it is possible teams will snap Devine up in the top 100 selections.

Analysis

Inside running: Not a power back by any measure, but is difficult to find behind and between 300-pound blockers. Has the vision and acceleration to find a hole inside, cut to it and shoot through to make a big play. Stronger than expected given his height/weight numbers and gets carries between the tackles, around the goal line and in short-yardage because he's not often tackled squarely. Willing to lower his pads to charge forward after contact once past the line but won't push a pile. Bounces outside instead of lowering his pads to get what he can get if the designed route closes, sometimes making a play but often getting caught in the backfield. Will dance or lose his balance trying to weave through traffic inside. Must sell fake handoffs with more commitment to make misdirection and bootlegs more effective.

Outside running: Explosive runner in open space when healthy, with elite quickness and straight-line speed. Turns the corner easily. Very difficult for defenders to read his angle once near the sideline. Often used on east-west runs -- portending success in a cutback or zone system -- uses his low center of gravity to plant and cut quickly and accelerate through a hole. Gets a lot of yardage avoiding defenders coming into the hole with a quick cut, will have less room to run at the next level. Could be more consistent switching the ball to the outside hand. Has improved his ball security (two fumbles, none lost in 2009; 4-2 in 2008), generally getting four points of pressure but gets loose with the handle when trying to get the extra yard or make a cut. Not nearly the same runner when nicked up, becoming very average.

Breaking tackles: Very elusive in the open field with vision and cutting ability. Stronger than his measurables indicate; has a very muscular upper and lower body. NFL-caliber defenders can close and wrap up on him or knock him down or off-balance when in close proximity, however; their problem comes in getting the hand on him. Effective stiff-arm against oncoming defensive backs. Spins off piles inside with good balance to keep moving forward.

Blocking: Diminutive frame makes him a liability in pass protection. Tries to cut block and can stop the progress of some defenders, but NFL linebackers will use their hands to defeat him. Going into the flat as a safety valve is his way of alleviating pass rush on second- or third-and-long. Willing to make blocks downfield for his scrambling quarterbacks, is strong enough to push a cornerback out of the way.

Receiving: Dangerous weapon on screen passes and check-down throws to the flat, using elusiveness, short-area burst and straight-line speed in the open field to make big plays. Reliable hands on shorter passes, but must improve adjusting to high or wide throws. Not a deep threat unless matched up against slow linebacker on wheel route. Needs to prove he has the hands to be a kickoff and punt returner.

Intangibles: Not limited to being a return specialist, Devine has shown the toughness to participate in almost every offensive play from scrimmage. Had a left ankle injury late in 2009 and a toe injury in 2010 (making durability a legitimate question). Difficult childhood; one of nine children, both parents died of AIDS by the time Devine turned 11. Lived with parents of a Pop Warner teammate soon after, but fathered two children and found trouble while in high school. Former NFL star Deion Sanders attempted to adopt Devine but he decided to go back to Florida to be at home. Pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery from March 2008 incident outside Morgantown nightclub; was not suspended by WVU coaches.

2010 Season

Despite battling a toe injury for most of the year, Devine has rushed for 844 yards this season to go along with six touchdowns. He ranks seventh in the BIG EAST and 64th in the country with 73.8 rushing yards per game. Devine finished his career ranked fourth on the BIG EAST's all-time rushing list with 4,317 yards.

Devine's outstanding speed and ability make him one of the top runners in the nation. Limited by injury, Devine registered 31 yards on four carries against Rutgers. The yardage pushed his career total to 4,265, the third-best mark on the all-time WVU Career Rushing list. He ranks No. 7 in the BIG EAST, and No. 64 in the nation, in rushing (73.8 yards-per-game). Though his numbers weren't flashy, he got the job done at Louisville, gaining 58 yards on 23 carries, including a two-yard run that opened the team's scoring. The score was Devine's sixth rushing TD of the season, and career 29th - the sixth best WVU total. His strong run attack helped balance WVU's air threat against Cincinnati, as he gained 77 yards on 18 attempts, including a 13-yard third quarter touchdown. He gave the offense a chance against Syracuse, as he gained 122 yards on 24 carries, including a team best 32-yard run in the first quarter that set-up WVU's second score. The 100-yard performance was Devine's fourth of the season and career 19th. His single-game rushing total pushed his career yardage over 4,000.

Nursing a bone bruise in his toe, Devine made the most of his three carries against UNLV, rushing for a game-best 84 yards and two touchdowns, including a season-long score of 48 yards. He had an efficient day in WVU's victory over the Terrapins, gaining 131 yards on a career-high 27 rushing attempts; the effort was Devine's fourth straight 100-yard rushing game.

Devine strengthened his all-time WVU all-purpose yards record against Rutgers, tallying 39 yards and pushing his career total to 5,690 (50 career games). He made the most of his one catch against at Pitt, as he took a swing pass 48 yards, a career-long reception, for a near-score. He also had 27 yards on three carries. Devine has 30 catches this season, the fourth-best season total by a running back, while his 94 career catches is the all-time best mark for a running back in WVU history. Additionally, his career 689 receiving yards ranks third in program history. In total, Devine has racked up 1,183 all-purpose yards through 12 games this season. With a 98.8 allpurpose yards/game average, he ranks No. 7 in the BIG EAST Conference.

He had a game-best 119 all-purpose yards at Louisville, thanks in large part to his 61 receiving yards. Included in his day was a 48-yard catch. Additionally, he gained 58 yards on 23 carries, including a twoyard score. Devine scored his first receiving touchdown of the season on a trick play against USF, completing a hook and lateral and scoring from 11-yards out. Though he was not credited with the reception on the touchdown, he did receive statistical credit for the yardage. He also completed one other catch in the game for one yard. At Marshall, he finished with a game-best 10 receptions, a career-high mark, for 62 yards. Also back deep once again to return kicks for the Mountaineers, Devine has returned four kicks for 62 yards. He owns 736 career return yards.

2009 Season

Unanimous BIG EAST Conference first-team selection by league coaches, Phil Steele and ESPN.com … Maxwell Award semifinalist … named to ESPN.com's BIG EAST All-Bowl Team … played in 13 games and started 10 … saw action on more than 645 plays, including a season-high 74 at Auburn … used on 50 or more plays in nine games … led the team in rushing with 1,465 yards, averaging 6.1 yards a carry … scored 13 touchdowns rushing … scored season-high three touchdowns at Auburn and had two against Marshall … Finished with 22 catches for 177 yards, an average of 8.0 yards per catch and scored a touchdown … No. 2 rusher in the BIG EAST Conference and No. 17 nationally … No. 4 in the BIG EAST in all-purpose yardage (1,742) and No. 43 nationally … No. 5 in scoring touchdowns and No. 9 in total offense and overall scoring (6.5) … had at least one reception in every game but Rutgers … finished with 100 or more yards rushing in seven games, including a career-high 220 yards against Colorado … collected 19 plays of 20 yards or more, including 14 rushing, one receiving and four kickoff returns … seven runs of 50 or more yards, including three for touchdowns … named one of 16 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, signifying the top offensive player in the nation … BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week: Syracuse … WVU Offensive Champion: East Carolina, Colorado.

Selected an "Iron Mountaineer" by his teammates because of his hard work and dedication during the offseason lifting and conditioning program … named West Virginia's Gator Bowl MVP against Florida State as he registered a game-high 168 yards on 16 carries, an average of 10.5 yards per carry and a touchdown … two catches for 28 yards with a long reception of 15 yards against the Seminoles … finished with a game-high 16 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown with a long of 32 yards at Rutgers … ran for 134 yards on 17 carries, an average of 7.9 yards per run with a 88-yard touchdown against Pitt … the 88-yard run was the longest run by a Mountaineer during the season … his rushing yards against the Panthers were the third-most of the season … returned at Cincinnati after having an ankle injury the week before and finished with 88 yards on 25 carries, an average of 3.5 yards per carry … had a nine-yard reception … saw limited time against Louisville because of an ankle injury … collected 13 carries for 56 yards, an average of 4.3 yards per carry with a long run of 20 yards … had a 21-yard kickoff return … four catches for 33 yards with a long reception of 19 at USF … ran for 178 yards on 23 carries, an average of 7.7 yards per carry and a touchdown against UConn … had a long run of 62 yards … his 56-yard run in the fourth quarter with 2:10 left in the game lifted WVU to a four-point win … had a 13-yard reception.

Finished with 123 yards of all-purpose yardage against Marshall … 19 carries for 103 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per carry and two touchdowns with a long of 30 yards … had a 20-yard reception … posted 103 all-purpose yards at Syracuse, including 91 yards rushing on 22 carries, an average of 4.1 yards per carry and a touchdown … two receptions for 12 yards, including his first career receiving touchdown on an 11-yard reception … career-high 220 yards on 22 carries, an average of 10.0 yards a carry and a touchdown against Colorado … his 220 yards tied for seventh-best rushing performance in WVU history … finished with 179 yards of all-purpose yardage at Auburn, running for 128 yards on 15 carries, an average of 8.5 yards per carry and three touchdowns, long run of 71 yards, two catches for 26 yards with a long of 17 yards and a 25-yard kickoff return … finished with 126 yards of all-purpose yardage against East Carolina, 19 carries for 80 yards and a touchdown, three catches for 18 yards and two kickoff returns for 28 yards with a long of 23 yards … ran for 112 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown against Liberty, averaging 6.6 yards a carry … three receptions for nine yards.

2008 Season

Played all 13 games and started 12 … BIG EAST All-Conference second team … Phil Steele's BIG EAST second team … . BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week: Syracuse … WVU Offensive Champion: Colorado, Marshall, Syracuse, Louisville … saw action on more than 675 plays, including a season-high 71 against Cincinnati … used in 50 or more plays 11 times … team-leading rusher, registering 1,289 yards on 206 carries, an average of 6.3 yards per carry, four touchdowns and a long run of 92 yards … tied for second on the team with 35 catches for 185 yards with a long reception of 17 yards … collected 100 or more yards rushing five times, 100 or more all-purpose yards seven times and single plays of 20 yards or more 20 times … career high 207 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown against Auburn … 188 yards on 18 carries, including the second-longest run in the school's history (92) against Syracuse … career high six catches against Villanova, Syracuse and Cincinnati … ran for 154 yards on 13 carries at Louisville, an average of 11.8 yards per carry with a long of 79 yards … run of 79 yards set the school record for longest non-touchdown run … career high 48 receiving yards against Cincinnati.

Ran for 133 yards at Colorado on 26 attempts, an average of 5.1 yards per carry … also led the team with three catches for 11 yards … ran for a team-high 125 yards on 14 carries against Marshall, a touchdown and a long run of 36 yards … registered 150 all-purpose yards at East Carolina, finishing with 12 carries for 94 yards, averaging 7.8 yards per carry with a season-long run of 34 yards … two kickoff returns for 47 yards with a long return of 24 yards … finished with a team-high 61 yards on 13 carries, an average of 4.7 yards per carry and a touchdown against North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl … also had a catch for 14 yards … collected 84 all-purpose yards against Villanova, finishing with 47 yards on nine carries, an average of 5.2 yards per carry with a game-long run of 24 yards … also had season-high six catches for 37 yards with a long reception of 17 yards … ran for 90 yards with a long of 14 against USF.

2007 Season

Honored with the Danny Van Etten Rookie of the Year Award by the coaching staff … played in 12 games … third-leading rusher on the team with 627 yards on 73 carries, an average of 8.6 yards per carry … scored six touchdowns and had a long run of 76 yards … ranked No. 10 in the BIG EAST Conference in rushing yards per game … led the Mountaineers with 27 plays of 20 yards or more … team champion: Connecticut … seven catches for 90 yards with a long reception of 34 yards … led the team in kickoff returns with 22 returns for 511 yards, an average of 23.2 yards per return, with a long return of 48 yards … No. 5 in BIG EAST in kickoff returns … filled in for an injured Steve Slaton in the Fiesta Bowl and ran the ball 13 times for 108 yards, an average of 8.3 yards per carry and two touchdowns … also had two catches for 47 yards with a season-long catch of 34 yards … touchdown runs of 65 yards and 17 yards in the bowl game … five carries for 136 yards, including a season-long 76-yard run at Maryland.

Tied longest non-touchdown run in the school's history with the 76-yard run against the Terps … became the fastest WVU player to rush for 100 yards in a game on just two carries at Maryland … scored his first collegiate touchdown against Western Michigan … seven carries for 44 yards, scored a touchdown and had a long carry of 23 yards against the Broncos … season-high 11 carries for 118 yards, one touchdown and a long run of 36 yards against Connecticut … finished with five carries for 76 yards and scored two touchdowns at Marshall … six carries for 40 yards with a long run of 18 yards at Rutgers … four kickoff returns for 97 yards with a long of 41 yards against Louisville … four returns for 86 yards with a long of 28 yards at Cincinnati … two returns for 52 yards with a long of 26 yards at Maryland.

High School

Highly touted tailback from North Fort Myers (Fla.) High … set school and Lee County rushing records of 6,842 yards, 92 touchdowns … three-year Florida Class 5A all-state … Fort Myers News-Press area player of the year … rushed for 2,148 yards, 31 scores as a senior … led Coach James Iandoli's team to the third round of state playoffs … U.S. Army All-America game.

Personal

Birthday is Feb. 16 … grandson of Lee Turner.

 
Latest News
03/24/2011 - Running back Noel Devine led his former teammates in the 40 with an unofficial time of 4.3 seconds at the Mountaineers' pro day. He's projected a seventh-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, which pegs him as a the No. 22 tailback in the draft. Devine's frame -- 5-7, 160 -- and nagging foot and toe injuries the past two seasons have caused his draft stock to level out as a late second-day option. That doesn't mean every NFL team will follow that logic. A player with a similar body type and high-level collegiate production, Darren Sproles, was a fourth-round pick in 2005 (130th overall). Devine is shifty and has sprinter's speed. He hasn't proven to have the same naturally sticky hands Sproles has, nor is he an elite return specialist entering the NFL. - NFLDraftScout.com

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