The Big East's best: No. 3, Noel Devine

February, 18, 2010
2/18/10
3:45
PM ET
A postseason ranking of the Big East's Top 30 players ...

No. 3

Devine
Devine
Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia, Jr.

Preseason rank: 4

Why him here: If you needed someone to break off a big, game-changing run, you couldn't find a better man for the job than Devine.

The star tailback had an astounding seven runs of 56 yards or more in 2009, including an 88-yard touchdown against Pittsburgh and a 56-yard score against UConn that basically won both of those games. Of course, the speedy Devine always had the ability to outrun defenders when given a little bit of daylight; what made him even better in 2009 was his willingness to stay patient behind his blocks and settle for the three- to four-yard gain, instead of trying to take everything to the house with risky cutback moves. That's why he finished with a career-best 1,465 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging a whopping 6.1 yards per carry.

And he did that despite being hampered late in the year by an ankle injury. West Virginia fans were thrilled to learn that he decided to return to Morgantown for his senior year instead of going to the NFL. With a full season of health, there's no reason to think he won't make a run at 1,700 yards or even more this season.

Though only listed at 5-foot-8, he's amazingly sturdy at 176 pounds and is by no means easy to take down. He'll make some NFL team happy when he does join the league in 2011. For now, the Mountaineers -- and the Big East -- are lucky to have his game-breaking skills around for another season.

Previous:

No. 4: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
No. 5:
Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh
No. 6:
Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati
No. 7:
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
No. 8:
Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
No. 9:
Mick Williams, DT, Pittsburgh
No. 10:
Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
No. 11: Dorin Dickerson, TE, Pittsburgh
No. 12:
Robert Sands, S, West Virginia
No. 13: B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida
No. 14:
Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh
No. 15:
Tim Brown, WR, Rutgers
No. 16:
Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut
No. 17:
Arthur Jones, DT, Syracuse
No. 18:
Lawrence Wilson, LB, Connecticut
No. 19:
Tom Savage, QB, Rutgers
No. 20:
Andre Dixon, RB, Connecticut
No. 21:
Bill Stull, QB, Pittsburgh
No. 22:
Nate Allen, S, South Florida
No. 23:
Marcus Easley, WR, Connecticut
No. 24:
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
No. 25:
Jarrett Brown, QB, West Virginia
No. 26:
George Selvie, DE, South Florida
No. 27:
Kion Wilson, LB, South Florida
No. 28:
Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh
No. 29:
Lindsey Witten, DE, Connecticut
No. 30: Jeff Linkenbach, OT, Cincinnati

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