Running back Noel Devine, West Virginia’s third-leading all-time rusher and the Mountaineers’ top rusher last season, has signed with the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks.
“Noel is an exciting football player,” Nighthawks General Manager Rick Mueller said Thursday, according to a press release. “We are happy to have him with the Nighthawks.”
Devine was one of two Nighthawks acquisitions Thursday. Former Nebraska wide receiver Maurice Purify, who was cut by Omaha on July 22, returned to the team.
The 5-foot-7, 179-pound Devine, who rushed for 4,315 career yards after picking up 934 yards on 208 carries last season, spent four days in the Philadelphia Eagles’ training camp in July after signing as a free agent. But he left the NFL team and was waived with a left-squad designation.
Devine was projected as a later-round target in the NFL draft last April, but his lack of size and a rough senior year hurt his draft stock.
He struggled with ankle and toe injuries in 2010 after rushing for 1,486 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns as a junior.
Devine, who was a star at North Fort Myers (Fla.) High School, hasn’t talked about why he and the Eagles parted.
“What happened, happened, and I’m not going to look back,” Devine told the Marco Island (Fla.) Sun Times.
He told the Sun Times that he is healthy and hasn’t lost a step.
“I’m fine,” he said. “I need some time to get right mentally, physically, spiritually, whatever God has in store for me.”
Devine will join Maurice Clarett, Shaud Williams and former Husker Marlon Lucky in competition for the position for the Nighthawks, who will open their season Sept. 15 at TD Ameritrade Park against the Virginia Destroyers.