Card: Upper Deck College Legends 2011 Acquired: 2019, Box Breaker
Shifty and speedy, Noel Devine posted solid numbers while he played college ball at West Virginia. He finished his college career with 4317 yards on 729 carries, scoring 29 TDs. Noel also had 98 receptions for 710 yards for 2 TDs. His personal best was in 2009 when he posted 241 carries for 1465 yards and 13 TDs on the ground. Due to his size (5’7, 160), an ankle injury, and a poor combine showing- Noel was not drafted during the 2011 draft.
He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, but after 4 days he left the team for undisclosed reasons. Unable to find an NFL squad, Noel joined the UFL Omaha Nighthawks (2011) for a season rushing 5 times for 14 yards and a TD, while catching 2 passes for 20 yards. The following year he’d join the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL playing there for two seasons (2012-2013). After a short off-season with the Edmonton Eskimos, he returned to WVU to finish his law degree in 2015.
During 2017 he resurrected his football career joining The Spring League, and in early 2019 signed with the Wheeling Roughriders of the American Arena League. He was among the players available for the XFL 2020 pool, but was not selected.
I pulled this autograph from a box of Upper Deck College Legends I bought in 2019. It’s rarer and rarer to see on card autographs, but overall I was pretty impressed with the look of this shot.
Okay, let’s forget about the shirt that Brett is wearing. It’s a one of a kind on a card though as I’ve never seen a curse word sneak through. Sage’s entry is not a pretty one here, but rarely are their photos ever exciting. It’s a pretty basic entry and not very risky. Kudos though for showcasing what matters: the certified autograph. I didn’t really like the cards out of this set, but for what it matters, you can still find hobby boxes of this set at an extremely reasonable price (2017), fattening up your collection by 7-10 autographs in each box.
Brett Smith played for Wyoming from 2010-2013. Despite setting numerous records for the Cowboys including career offensive yards (10,390), passing TDs (76), career TDs (97), and most total yards passing in a game (640), he was not selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. He’d sign as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Bucs and later join the CFL as a member of the Toronto Argonauts, and then the Arena Football League with the San Jose SabreCats.
In 2015 Brett rejoined the CFL, signing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He’d win the 3rd string job, but end up starting a fair amount of the season, after injuries hit the quarterback position. Smith finished with a respectable 15 TDs to 9 interceptions on the season. After the season he spent time on the rosters of the Redblacks (2016) and Eskimos (2017). Currently he is a free agent.
Jared Zabransky was a dual threat quarterback for Boise State, and helped bring the program national respect with their thrilling victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Over 4 years, Zabransky was 610/980 for 8256 yards, 58 TDs to 37 interceptions. He also contributed 863 yards and 31 TDs on the ground.
Scouts didn’t really think that Zabransky was going to fit in the NFL as a quarterback. In fact his situation graded out similar to Eric Crouch. Sure he was a talented athlete, but Jared’s arm strength and passing mechanics concerned teams. Certainly however Zabransky made up for it in intangibles: Leadership and always finding a way to win. He went unselected in the 2007 NFL draft. Afterwards he signed with the Houston Texans, briefly appearing on their practice squad. He’d join the Steelers in 2008 but be cut before the regular season.
Jared wanted to keep playing QB so he went to the CFL, signing with the Edmonton Eskimos, seeing primarily backup and mopup duty over his career from 2009-2011. His best game came perhaps in 2010 for the Esks when Jared passed for 188 yards on 16 of 23 and 2 touchdowns.
As of 2016 he resides in The Woodlands, Texas, and is the director of sales of oil and gas for an OEM of oil drilling equipment.
I remember when the Texans signed Jared. The team had just jettisoned David Carr and handed the keys over to Matt Schaub. Sage Rosenfels had the inside track for second string QB, while Zabransky looked to nab the Practice Squad QB or the 3rd string spot. The Texans in the end elected not to carry 3 QBs however, and Zabransky was disappointingly cut.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.