There’s considerable euphoria in West Virginia tonight as running back Noel Devine has decided to return for his final year of football eligibility.
And while yours truly is among those who look forward to watching Devine play for the Mountaineers for one more season, the decision doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Our guess is that Devine was informed by the NFL Collegiate Advisory Committee that he wouldn’t be drafted in the first three rounds, and that Devine decided he might increase his stock with one more year of college football.
One league source expressed doubt regarding that strategy. “Will another year make him taller?” the source said. “Faster?”
The point is that Devine most likely won’t increase his NFL marketability with another year of college football, since he’s likely already as good as he’s going to be at the college level. Though he’ll probably try even harder and potentially will put up bigger numbers and maybe he’ll end up in the hunt for a Heisman, the risk of serious injury (see Michael Bush) balances out the possibility that he’ll be drafted higher in 2011 than he’d be picked in 2010.
Then there’s the possibility that a rookie wage scale will be implemented in time for the 2011 draft, and/or that there won’t be pro football at all that year.
So while all the WVU fans who wear No. 7 jerseys for which Devine derives not a dime of revenue are happy that he’ll continue to play for free, it’s hard to make the case against going pro, especially in light of the current dynamics between the NFL and the players union.