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Devine, Sanders skip NFL draft

Junior running back Noel Devine and wide receiver Jock Sanders will return to West Virginia next season instead of entering the NFL Draft, coach Bill Stewart announced on Thursday.

Devine was considered the more likely of the two to turn pro. The first-team All-Big East performer rushed for 1,465 yards while averaging 6.1 yards per carry and scoring 13 touchdowns this past season. He has run for 3,381 yards in his career with a 6.5 yards per carry average.

The Fort Myers, Fla., native also had a difficult family background, as both his parents died of AIDS. But Devine said he wanted to earn his diploma.

"It's all about unfinished business on the field and in the classroom," Devine said in a statement released by the school. "I want to be the first member of my family to finish with a college degree, and I want to bring back a championship to Morgantown."

Sanders had the best year of his career in 2009, recording 72 catches for 688 yards and three scores. He also carried 48 times for 250 yards and two touchdowns. He's fifth on West Virginia's all-time receiving list.

Sanders, who is from St. Petersburg, Fla., and is a close friend of Devine's, echoed many of his teammate's sentiments about staying in school.

"Coming back for my senior season will not only help me gain more experience and knowledge on the football field, but most importantly, like Noel, I also will be the first in my family to earn a college degree," he said.

Brian Bennett covers Big East football for ESPN.com.