Sitting down with WVU junior running back Noel Devine for a few minutes Thursday prior to one of his off season workouts, it does not take long to realize how much of a change there is in him both physically and from a maturity standpoint.
Devine seems determined to make it his year. He is noticeably bigger from the hardest stretch in the weight room that he has ever put in.
"I am working hard," Devine said. "We are all working hard."
Devine’s personal background is well documented. He seems truly appreciative for what his football ability has allowed him to achieve as a student athlete and as a member of the Morgantown and WVU communities.
"Just coming from what I have come from and seeing what I have seen, It has made me the person I am," Devine said. "It’s a blessing that I’ve been able to move forward. I can’t forget where I have come from because It has made me who I am. At the same time, It’s rough. It is something you want to get out of and you want to get your family out of. But at the same time, you would like to be able to give back."
First things first, however, as Devine wants to fly past the 1,298 yards and four touchdowns he accumulated last season.
"We lost Pat," Devine said of WVU’s record setting quarterback of the last several seasons, Pat White. "Somebody has to step up. I feel I have to step up. Not necessarily fill his shoes but just be there for my team when they need me."
And as for the off season work that he and his teammates have put in?
"Somebody has to push the team," Devine says of his roll as a leader. "This is what counts. You work hard now and it pays off later. "I’ve been on this team with a lot of leaders. Now it’s my turn. When you work hard, it motivates others to work hard. It’s the time to go hard and everybody is (working) hard."