Decision Upcoming

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When the time comes for WVU slot receiver Jock Sanders to decide whether he will leave school early and enter the NFL draft, he will likely consult with his best friend, who will also have the same choice to make.

Fellow Mountaineer star Noel Devine also will be going through the process of trying to determine if entering the ranks of professional football immediately will be the best choice for he and his family.

Like Devine, Sanders has children. He admitted that whatever choice he makes will ultimately be for them just as much as it is for himself.

"I want to just take the best opportunity and make the best decision, not just for me, but for my family too," the junior said.

"If it's time to come out, I'll come out. If it's not, I'm not. But I'm not focused on that right now. I'm focused on this game we're about to win and focused on getting another ‘W.'"

"This game" is the upcoming Konica Minolta Gator Bowl at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

That New Year's Day contest against Florida State gives Sanders a chance to show his talents in front of family and friends in his home state.

The St. Petersburg, Fla., native said that he sees the opportunity for a big game for himself and his teammates on the WVU offense when watching film of the Seminoles defense.

"That's on any film that we break down," Sanders said. "We've got big play-making guys and they've got great defensive guys. But when you look their defense more and more, you see holes in their defense you can exploit."

A solid bowl outing would be a fitting conclusion to a season that has seen Sanders redeem himself both on the field and off it.

After an offseason arrest for DUI in Morgantown left the junior suspended indefinitely from the team, he said he refocused his efforts on surrounding himself with more mature people.

Ultimately, Sanders was reinstated by head coach Bill Stewart after proving to the coach's satisfaction that he had made positive steps towards bettering himself as a person and a player.

"I made the best out of my second chance," said Sanders. "That was my main goal when I was down and out, was to get back around people that were trying to do the same thing as me. That's what kind of helped me out throughout that whole situation."

And when Sanders had days that he was down and out during his suspension, he turned to Devine for a morale boost.

"(He played) a big role. He was there every day telling me, ‘It's going to be better. The next opportunity, just make it,'" Sanders said.

"Me and Noel, we think alike. We come to the sideline and think something, and it'll be funny because we'll say it at the same time. Off the field too, and life in general, because we've basically got the same situation because of family problems and kids and everything. Me and Noel seem like we click more than anyone else I ever knew."

Because of that close bond, it's not out of the realm of possibility that the two will make a joint decision on whether to turn pro or stay at West Virginia for their senior seasons.

"At this point, it's up in the air, but I'm pretty sure that I am (coming back)," said Sanders. "I've got to let it play out. I don't know what my future holds as of right now. Hopefully, I can make the best choice that can be made."

"(Devine and I) talk. We came in together, and hopefully, we'll leave together."


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