After only his second year in high school, Noel Devine was catching people's eyes—and I don't blame them.
He caught mine after only his second carry against Marshall.
The 4.4-running, 41-inch-jumping, 330-pound-bench-maxing Devine has been dubbed "the next Bush" by some observers.
And they weren't talking about the President.
It's hard to argue with the hype. Devine's career high school stats were impressive, to say the least—6,842 yards and 93 TDs.
After torching 16- and 17-year-olds at North Fort Myers H.S., Devine chose to join the Mountaineers of West Virginia. Smart choice. Even though Steve Slaton has, let's just say, "job security" as the starter, Devine seemed a sure bet to be his predecessor.
Through the Mountaineers' first three games, Devine has already amassed 256 yards and three TDs...on only 17 carries. Two of Devine's runs against Maryland were just short of the goal line; Slaton ended up scoring those two TDs.
While Slaton is clearly the top back in Morgantown, coach Rich Rodriguez has made a point of getting his young Barry Sanders clone on the field as much as possible.
The bottom line: "Devine" is a name we'd all do well to remember. Here are two more WVU newbies who could pop up throughout this season:
Jock Sanders (5'8", 185 lbs.): He's listed as a WR on the depth chart, but has seen significant practice time in the backfield.
Jarrett Brown (6'4", 220 lbs.): Pat White's backup at QB. Deadly as a passing and running threat, just as White is.
Watch out, America—Coach Rodriguez is building a very respectable program up in Morgantown. He's recruiting players who fit his system perfectly, and making sure that he gets them on the field early.
The Mountaineers are already looking like the class of the Big East this year. The future seems just as bright.
High school stats provided by rivals.com.