|No. -- Free Agent|
Devine while at West Virginia
|Date of birth||February 16, 1988|
|Place of birth||Fort Myers, Florida|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Weight||180 lb (82 kg)|
|*Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
Noel Devine (born February 16, 1988) is an American football running back who most recently played for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and was released four days later after leaving the squad. He played college football at West Virginia.
He had a successful football career for the West Virginia Mountaineers. He was a former blue chip prospect and holds many high school rushing records. Devine completed his freshman season at West Virginia University, finishing with 73 carries for 627 yards and 6 touchdowns. Devine ended the season with 1,316 all-purpose yards, the 24th most in a single-season in school history. His performance in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl included a 65-yard TD run, the longest run by a West Virginia player in the school's NCAA bowl history.
- 1 High school career
- 2 Collegiate career
- 3 Professional career
- 4 Personal life
- 5 References
- 6 External links
High school career
Devine went to North Fort Myers High School, the same high school attended by NFL stars Deion Sanders and Jevon Kearse. Devine rushed for 627 yards and averaged 8.6 yards per carry as a freshman. In his sophomore year, Noel had 1289 yards and 23 TDs on 206 carries, for an average of 6.3. One of his most impressive games of his 10th grade year was in the 63-7 victory over Estero High. Devine rushed for 365 yards and six touchdowns on only nine carries. Devine also returned the kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. As a Junior, Devine rushed for 1,986 yards and 24 touchdowns on 173 carries, averaging 11.5 yards per carry. In his senior year, Devine totaled 2,148 yards and 31 touchdowns.
On October 20, 2006, Noel became the all-time leader in rushing yards for Lee County, surpassing former Mariner High School student and Tampa Bay running back Earnest Graham Coincidentally, it was Graham's alma mater against which Devine was playing when the record was broken - he scored on a 65-yard touchdown run late in the 3rd quarter.
He finished his high school career with 92 touchdowns, another Lee County record.
Devine was the #3 ranked running back (and #6 prospect overall) in the nation by ESPN's 2007 Recruit Tracker. Before signing with West Virginia, he was recruited by coaches from some of the nation's other top collegiate programs, such as the University of Nebraska, University of Alabama and Florida State University.
Devine got his first chance to play in the 4th quarter of West Virginia's season opener against Western Michigan. Devine showed his speed as he beat the defense to the corner as he went 23 yards after spinning off of a defender. Devine scored his first collegiate touchdown on an 8-yard run to score WVU's final score, as the #3 ranked Mountaineers beat Western Michigan 62-24. Devine finished the game with 7 carries for 44 yards and a reception for 19 yards.
In the second game of the season, Devine helped the WVU seal a 4th quarter victory over in-state rival Marshall. Devine only had 5 carries, but managed to rack up 76 yards and 2 touchdowns to help the third ranked Mountaineers beat the Thundering Herd 48-23. Devine also had two kickoff returns for 40 yards. His longest run of the day was 39 yards.
In the third game of the season, against Maryland, Devine had the best game of the season to that point. In the 31-14 win, Devine rushed for 136 yards on just 5 carries; a 27.2 yards average. His biggest run of the day was a 76 yards dash down the sideline to the one-yard line. On his next carry he juked out a number of defenders and spun off a facemask grab to cap off the 18-yard gain. He also had one reception for two yards and two kick returns for 47 yards. Devine took only two carries to reach 100 yards against Maryland.
In the next game against ECU, Devine had 7 rushes for 11 yards, a reception for 7 yards and a kick return for 25 yards. In the Mountaineers' first loss of the season against USF, 21-13, Devine had 4 carries for 36 yards. He also had 36 yards on two kick returns. In the 55-14 win over Syracuse, Devine was held to 13 yards on 4 carries, with 33 yards on two kick returns. Devine sat out the Mississippi State game. Against twenty-fifth-ranked Rutgers, Devine had 6 carries for 40 yards.
Against Louisville, Devine had 2 rushes for 11 yards and one reception for 4 yards. He also had 4 kick returns for 97 yards, including a 41-yarder. After the 38-31 Louisville win, rumors circulated that Devine was mad about lack of playing time and had supposedly "torn up his locker" in a fit of anger. In an article with Rivals.com, Devine dismissed the rumors saying, "If I really wanted to play I would have gone to a sorry team...I didn't expect a lot of playing time." Devine also said, "I think I have played fairly. There's people that are not playing and they're on the team and they're happy. You got a great running back ahead of you. Really, I'm not expecting a lot."
In the 28-23 road win against twenty-second-ranked Cincinnati, Devine had only 23 yards on 2 carries, including a 17-yard rush. However, had four kick returns for 86 yards, averaging 21.5 yards per return. In the Big East Championship-clinching 66-21 win over twentieth-ranked Connecticut, Devine rushed for 118 yards and a score on 11 carries, which ranked second-best on the team, trailing only quarterback Pat White.
Subsequently, the then second-ranked Mountaineers were upset 13-9 by Pittsburgh in the 100th edition of the Backyard Brawl. Devine had only 11 yards on 7 carries; a 1.6 average. However, in the 4th quarter, Devine returned a kickoff 48 yards in the final minutes of the game. But, ultimately, the Mountaineers were stopped on fourth down to end the game.
Devine would finish his freshman season in West Virginia's Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma. After losing Steve Slaton to a leg injury in the first quarter, Devine filled in for WVU with 105 yards on 12 carries and 2 touchdowns, including a 65-yard run which provided the final score of the game. The run broke a West Virginia bowl record for longest rush and was the second longest play from scrimmage for the Mountaineers in the season. He also returned 4 kickoffs for 88 yards, a 22.0 yards average, and pulled in two receptions for 47 yards.
Devine was given honorable mention for the Freshman All-American team by various sources, including SportingNews, and was awarded the team's Danny Van Etten Rookie of the Year Award by head coach Rich Rodriguez. After Rich Rodriguez left the team before the 2008 Fiesta Bowl that offseason Devine thought about transferring. He finished his freshman season with 73 carries for 627 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also added 7 receptions for 90 yards and 26 returns for 599 yards. Devine ended the season with 1,316 all-purpose yards, the 21st most in a single-season in school history. Devine also finished the year ranked tenth in the Big East in rushing yards per game and #5 in the conference in kickoff return yards.
After former head coach Rich Rodriguez left West Virginia and announced his decision to accept the head coaching job at the University of Michigan, Noel Devine considered transferring, but decided he would finish his career at West Virginia. On January 14, 2008, West Virginia starting running back Steve Slaton announced his desire to enter the NFL Draft instead of returning for his senior season. Slaton's departure meant Devine would be the probable starter for the 2008 season.
Devine and quarterback Pat White were named the #1 "scary star" of the 2008 by Rivals.com. Shortly afterwards, the Mountaineers began their first spring practice. West Virginia running backs coach, Chris Beatty, said of Devine, “He’s as quick as he looked on television...So quick and yet he has great patience and things like that. My goal is to just let him run fast and do the things he does so well.” Devine also commented that he could handle at least 30 carries a game as the feature back, despite his size; which he said he wanted to jump up to 180 pounds. Head coach Bill Stewart also said that Devine maxed out at 405 pounds at the bench press during the spring.
To begin the 2008 season, Noel Devine rushed for 47 yards on 9 carries and also had 37 yards on 6 receptions in the season opening victory against the Villanova Wildcats, 48-21. In the following 24-3 loss to the ECU Pirates, Devine rushed 12 times for 94 yards (7.8 yard per carry average) and returned two kickoffs for 47 yards. In West Virginia's following 17-14 overtime loss to Colorado, Devine rushed 26 times for 133 yards and also had 11 yards on three receptions (second on the team in rushing behind quarterback Pat White).
In the 27-3 victory over Marshall, Devine rushed 14 times for 125 yards (8.9 yards per run) and his first touchdown of the season. To begin Big East play, Devine rushed 19 times for 55 yards, a 2.9 yard per carry average, in the 24-17 victory over Rutgers. In the following 17-6 victory over Syracuse, Devine rushed for 188 yards on 18 carries for a touchdown. His 188 yards was a career-high, and his 92-yard rushing touchdown in the 4th quarter not only was a career-long, but also was the second-longest rush in school and stadium history. Devine's performance in the Syracuse win won him the Big East Offensive Player of the Week honors. Following the 188-yard performance against Syracuse, Devine totaled a career-high 207 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in the Mountaineers' 34-17 victory over Auburn. For the game, Devine recorded six runs of at least 20 yards. The two-game stretch totaled 395 yards and two touchdowns.
West Virginia then defeated #25 UCONN 35-13, the team's first road win of the season, in which Devine rushed 17 times for 60 yards - a 3.5 yard per rush average. However, West Virginia was then defeated by Cincinnati in a 26-23 overtime loss, as the Mountaineers rallied from being down 20-7 with under two minutes left in the game to tie it and send it to overtime. Devine, however, finished the game with 19 rushes for 58 yards and 6 receptions for 48 yards - a total of 106 yards of offense.
Devine and West Virginia bounced back in the following 35-21 victory over Louisville in their annual rivalry game. Devine posted his fifth 100-yard rushing game on the season with 154 yards on 13 carries. The performance included a 79-yard run, which was a school record for the longest non-touchdown run in school history. However, the Mountaineers then lost in the Backyard Brawl to Pittsburgh 19-15. Devine carried the ball 12 times for 17 yards - a 1.4 yard per carry average - and caught 3 passes for 6 yards in the loss.
Devine finished out the regular season with 17 carries for 90 yards and 3 receptions for 21 yards - 111 total yards of offense - in the 13-7 win over South Florida, however Devine did not start as head coach Bill Stewart said he was disappointed in his performance the prior week. However, Devine was named a second-team All-Big East selection following the victory.
On January 14, 2010, Devine announced his intention to forgo the NFL draft and returned for his senior season with the Mountaineers.
Devine won his fourth Big East Offensive Player of the Week for games ending September 13, 2010. He had 174 all-purpose yards and registered his 17th career game with at least 100 rushing yards to lead West Virginia to a 24-21 overtime win at Marshall. He had 23 carries for 112 yards, including a fourth-quarter touchdown run that allowed the Mountaineers to overcome a 21-6 deficit. He also had a career-high 10 receptions for 62 yards.
With 122 yards rushing against the Syracuse Orange on October 23, 2010, Devine eclipsed 4,000 career rushing yards. He becomes the fourth player in Big East history to rush for 4,000 career yards joining fellow Mountaineers Avon Cobourne, Pat White and Rutgers' Ray Rice. A reason why he was not a top draft pick was because he had an ankle injury during his senior year and affected him in a big game against Louisiana State University (LSU). Draft experts say that Devine is too small and has a forward lean when he runs which causes him to fumble a lot. He also is too injury prone to be a top running back in the NFL.
2011 NFL Combine
|Ht||Wt||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 8 in||179 lb||4.45 s||1.51 s||2.54 s||4.25 s||6.88 s||35.5 in||10 ft 1 in||24 reps|
|All values from NFL Combine|
2011 NFL Draft
Despite Devine's high-profile coming out of high school and subsequent successful college career, he was projected to be a seventh-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He did not perform at the NFL Combine due to injury. Devine went undrafted due to his size and injuries sustained during his senior season.
Devine signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League on February 10, 2012. In six games with the Alouettes, Devine fumbled six times, including a three-fumble game on August 8 during a 38-13 loss to the Toronto Argonauts. After fumbling a punt-return in the fourth period, he left that game with an ankle injury. In a telephone interview with the Montreal Gazette on August 9, interim head coach and general manager Jim Popp suggested Devine may be released by the team, when and if he is cleared to play by the medical staff.
Devine was only three months old when his father died in 1988 of complications from AIDS, and 11 years old when his mother also died of AIDS. Custody passed to his maternal grandmother, but the two were not compatible. Eventually, Noel moved in with Liz and Robert Harlow Sr, parents of one of Noel's friends. By his junior year in high school, Devine had fathered two children by two different women. He was also witness to a shooting in late 2004, in which one of his friends, 15-year-old Rashard Patterson, was killed by a shotgun blast to the chest.
Devine has a relationship with Deion Sanders, who himself is a graduate of North Fort Myers High School. At one point, Sanders planned to become Devine's legal guardian. Devine moved to Prosper, Texas, where he lived with Sanders, but after a few weeks, he took Sanders' wife's vehicle to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where a plane ticket back to Florida awaited him. Devine and Sanders remained in contact, perhaps more so as the 2007 signing day approached, when Sanders assisted Devine in preparing to sign a letter of intent to play football in the college ranks. Sanders revealed the nature of his mentor role in Devine's decisions in his column for The News-Press, a Fort Myers news outlet. He had recommended that a prep school would better prepare Devine for college.
Devine was interviewed by ESPN The Magazine under their NEXT editions, which picks the next big athlete of the year. Devine was a nominee for the 2008 edition, along with Brandon Roy, Joba Chamberlain, Tyson Gay, Patrick Willis, and Novak Djokovic. In the interview, Devine stated that his idol is Barry Sanders, and that his best game of his career at that point was against Maryland.
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- Rivals.com, retrieved on 2008-08-09
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- "West Virginia University Mountaineers". MSNsportsNET.Com. 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
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- "Eagles nab rookie RB Devine". Los Angeles Times. July 26, 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
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- Zurkowsky, Herb (9 August 2013). "Popp says he doesn't regret adding coach portfolio". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Eskimos ink speedy tailback Devine
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