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Bruce Irvin’s Round-About Ride to WVU


The bio for new Mountaineer defensive end Bruce Irvin in the WVU football media guide reads that he is a native of Walnut, California.   But the 6-4, 235 pound Irvin says Atlanta is his true hometown. 

"I grew up in Stone Mountain in Georgia,"  Irvin said during his first session with the media Tuesday.   "I went to junior college in California.   There isn’t anything at home but trouble so I wanted to get as far as possible away.   You can’t go no further than Cali’ without leaving the country."  

Irvin says he had offers to play college football out of high school but grades held him back.  Prior to leaving Georgia for the west coast, Irvin struck up a relationship with a Mountaineer assistant coach. 

"I knew Lonnie Galloway because he was recruiting a friend of mine,"  Irvin recalled.   "I told him just to keep an eye on my when I went out to California.   So when I went out there, he kept in contact with me and everything worked out well."   

Irvin has dominated at times during Mountaineer camp with his ability to get to the quarterback.   He recorded  a pair of sacks Saturday during the first controlled scrimmage in camp.   On one he used his speed to get around the end.   The second was recorded when he bull-rushed an offensive lineman.   The fact that its a relative new position for Irvin is another part of this story that is fascinating . 

Irvin played receiver in high school and he was recruited to play safety in junior college.  In fact, he didn’t move to the defensive side of the football until a year ago and had never played defensive end until just a few weeks prior to the first game of the season last year at San Antonio Community College in California.   

"I arrived in camp two weeks before the first game,"  Irvin recounted.  "I had little knowledge of the plays.  At safety you have to read receivers and I was clueless.

"My coach said ‘just put your hand in the dirt and go get the quarterback.’  That was pretty easy  with my speed.  I guess it was the right fit."    

Irvin says his goal is to reach the NFL but his top priority is to get his degree.  Whether its the class room or on the field, its going to be all business in Morgantown.

"Of course I am older than a regular high school student coming in here," the 22-year old Irvin said.  "I knew that I was coming in here to handle business insted of enjoying the college life. 

"So the transition was easy.  Coach Galloway has helped out a lot being that I know him on a personal level.   That has made the transition much easier. 

"Everyone has that NFL dream.  But the first this is to get my education because football is not forever.  I take life a lot more serious now.  I was screwing up at first and making a lot of bad choices so I know how blessed I am to have another opportunity to do what I want to do." 

Irvin is living in Morgantown with his 28-year old brother Chad.   He has found life with the Mountaineers much easier than his junior college existence when he didn’t get a scholarship and was on his own for meals and expenses.

"I wasn’t even getting three meals a day," Irvin said of the juco life.  "When I got here, that is when I really started eating (well) and putting on weight. 

"My brother was one of the main people who stood behind me while I was in junior college," Irvin said.  "He told me that when I was depressed about the money situation that I needed to hold my head up and that everything happens for a reason.  He has been a big help.

"I’ve got to stay humble and stay hungry," Irvin said.  "People don’t understand how hard it is to get a sack.   Its going to get harder, much harder.   I’ve just got to keep working, stay in the weight room and stay healthy

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