Noel Devine, a late signee for West Virginia University’s 2007 football recruiting class, apparently has qualified academically.

The 5-8, 170-pound star running back is quoted in the Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press that he has scored high enough on the ACT to be eligible this fall.

He passed on his third attempt, going from a score of 63 to a 69, according to the results he said he received Saturday afternoon.

“I feel so good about this,” said Devine, a heavily recruited senior at North Fort Myers High School. “It’s a big relief, and it shows everyone that I did it.

“I really had my heart set on this.”

Devine holds both the Lee County career rushing record (6,847 yards) and touchdown record (92). As a senior, he netted 2,148 yards and scored 31 touchdowns.

He has been rated as a five-star prospect by some scouting services.

WVU coach Rich Rodriguez couldn’t be happier for him.

He told the newspaper, “We’re very excited. When we first saw his transcripts, we felt this guy has a chance.

“One of the reasons we wanted him to sign was so we could keep a close eye on him and motivate him to get eligible. Now he just needs to finish up strong in his academics these last few weeks and he’ll be right there.

“I’m sure a lot of people doubted he could do it.”

Rodriguez, who was still looking for a solid No. 2 tailback when spring practice ended, said as long as Devine maintains his grade-point average, he could attend WVU’s summer session. That would allow him to start becoming familiar with the football system.

Devine said his grade-point average at North Fort Myers High is slightly above a 2.5.

“I’ve been praying for this,” he said. “I really wanted to pull this off.”

All-America Steve Slaton, who will be a junior this fall, missed spring drills to rehab wrist surgery. He’s the Mountaineer record-holder in most rushing statistics.

How much Devine plays as a freshman likely will depend on how quickly he can learn the school’s spread offense.

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