December 21, 2007 WVU's Dingle declares for the NFL Draft By Mike Casazza Daily Mail sportswriter MORGANTOWN -- Two years ago, West Virginia defensive lineman Johnny Dingle got the back of his right hand tattooed and it's been a constant source of motivation ever since. "It's something that reminds me of what I want to do," he said. "I knew what I wanted to do in life and I said, 'I'll get this tattoo so I can stay focused.' If I think about making a bad decision, if I'm working out or practicing, I remember. It keeps me going. It makes me remember I can never do enough work and I have to keep on going to get where I need to go." The tattoo is three letters: N-F-L. Dingle revealed Thursday that he is entering the NFL Draft and won't return to school next season. A senior from Miami, Dingle originally committed to play at Florida but switched to WVU. He began as a prop and could have played a fifth season next year. "It's the opportunity I've been working for," Dingle said. "It's the opportunity I always wanted." Dingle, who has completed all the appropriate paperwork, wasn't swayed by Sunday's resignation of Coach Rich Rodriguez. He said he made up his mind after the loss to Pitt. "I sat with my parents and told my parents I've got the opportunity to play at the next level and this is what I've wanted to do," he said. "My mom told me whatever I do, she's behind me 100 percent." Dingle said he also spoke with Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson and Carolina Panthers safety Marquand Manuel, both Miami natives. Junior running back Steve Slaton, who has applied to be evaluated by the NFL advisory committee, said the coaching situation won't affect his thinking. "It depends on a lot of things," said Slaton, a consensus All-America last year and second-team All-Big East this year. "I'm going to take my time and make a decision." Junior quarterback Patrick White pledged to stay. "I don't think I'm going anywhere," he said. "I've got another year as a Mountaineer." White is also a highly regarded baseball player and has twice been drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, first in high school and then again last summer. The Angels still possess White's draft rights. "I haven't swung a bat in four years," White said. Freshman running back Noel Devine isn't eligible for the NFL Draft for another two years and he said he'll spend those years in Morgantown. "I'll still be here," he said. Dingle, though, is gone and perhaps the most improved WVU player on offense or defense will begin workouts in the pre-draft process as soon as the team returns from the Fiesta Bowl. No. 11 WVU plays No. 3 Oklahoma Jan. 2 in Glendale, Ariz., and Dingle said he would not be distracted by his future plans. "I'm focused on getting ready to go out and play against a highly ranked team," he said. "This is a tough team and I want to get the job done and come out with the victory as Fiesta Bowl champs." Dingle, a 6-foot-3, 275-pounder, had 46 tackles this season and led the team with 18 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Entering the season, he had 31 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in his career. "I want to leave on a good note," he said. "I want everyone after the game Jan. 2 to be like, 'Wow, who was that No. 92 for West Virginia?'''