In his first three collegiate games, freshman running back Noel Devine has certainly won the…
That's what the tailback said Thursday. Devine, a 5-8, 170-pound freshman out of North Fort Myers, Fla., said he initial considered transferring when former head coach Rich Rodriguez announced he was leaving West Virginia for Michigan. Devine said he decided to stay at WVU after weighing all options for two days.
"Everything happens for a reason," Devine said. "It was shocking at first, and at first I was a little down. Now I understand the situation. I started out here, so, pretty much, I will finis here. When everything first happened I had a lot of thoughts going through my mind. I am all right now."
Devine, the Scout.com No. 1 prep running back in the class of 2007, rushed for 519 yards this season on 60 carries, an average of 8.6 yards per touch. He scored four touchdowns and caught five passes for 43 yards. West Virginia scored an average of 38.9 points per game in rushing for 3,515 yards. Special teams coordinator and associate head coach Bill Stewart has been named interim coach for the Fiesta Bowl game versus No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1).
"Coach Stew is a great coach and it's quieter with him, more laid back," Devine said. "With coach Rod there was a lot of yelling. We are doing what we do and using our skills on the field without getting yelled at."
Defensive end Johnny Dingle, however, did announce his intention to leave West Virginia and enter the NFL draft. A senior, Dingle transferred to WVU from Florida. He has not spoken to any NFL official about his draft potential. Dingle, 6-3, 270 pounds, finished with 46 tackles and a team-best eight sacks. He recorded 18 tackles for loss for 75 yards. West Virginia's defense held foes to 17.2 points and 291.9 yards per game on average.
"It's an opportunity, and they don't come around very often," Dingle said. "I had a good year, some would say great, but I think good because not everything that I wanted to happened happened. It was a decision me and my parents made."
Dingle would have another season of eligibility if he graduates by May. He, along with Eric Wicks and Darius Reynaud, were among a handful of final Prop 48 players signed by West Virginia. The Big East no longer allows prop players to sign with its member institutions. Reynaud has not announced his intentions. The receiver, WVU's main passing threat, would also have another season if he graduates. Wicks is in his final year after graduating last May.