Bruce Irvin Turning Heads at the 2012 NFL Combine

Bruce Irvin Turning Heads at the 2012 NFL Combine

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Photo from msnsportsnet.com, credit to Dale Sparks/All-Pro-Photography

*Update 4/26/12* Irvin Goes to Seattle With the 15th Pick

It’s no secret to Mountaineer fans that Bruce Irvin is something special. In fact, Irvin was a legend in Morgantown before he even played a single snap. What most fans didn’t know was that he had already climbed mountains higher than those found in the hills of West Virginia, and would soon find himself on the peaks where nearly every NFL defensive scout would be scrutinizing his next move.

Irvin was a high school dropout, running the streets of Atlanta engrossed in a world of drugs and violence. At one time, he spent 2 1/2 weeks in a county jail for robbery charges. All of that changed when one of Irvin’s close friends was arrested in November 2007 for trafficking cocaine. Irvin keeps the friend’s identity a secret, but recalls a phone conversation the day after the arrest. Irvin’s friend begged him to use his talents to better himself and get off the streets. Those words must have wound themselves tighter than Irvin’s signature dreads, because just over one month later, he received his GED.

Fast forward a little more than four years. Irvin eventually settled into the defensive end position with Mt. San Antonio College. Scholarships began to filter through, and in 2009, Irvin committed to the University of Tennessee. Halfway through the Mt. San Antonio season, he changed his commitment to Arizona State. One coach had left a lasting impression upon him, though. West Virginia wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway had met with Irvin while he was in high school, and promised to keep an eye on him. This promise, along with the fact that Galloway kept in contact with him through the years, gave Irvin the reassurance that West Virginia University was where he wanted to play. Irvin finished his career at WVU with 22 sacks over two seasons, one of those rattling Clemson quarterback (and former Mountaineer commit) Tahj Boyd in the 2012 Orange Bowl.

On Monday, Irvin got his first chance to shine for the scouts at the annual NFL Combine. His first attempt at the 40 yard dash resulted in an impressive 4.50 second run. Although his official number remained at 4.50, his second attempt came in at an astonishing 4.43 seconds, falling behind Baylor’s Robert Griffin III by only 0.02 seconds. By position, Irvin had the quickest 40 time of the combine. Irvin managed 23 reps in the bench press evaluation, and a 33.5 inch vertical jump. For most, this is a feat in itself, but at the combine, those numbers fell around the middle of the pack. He placed 3rd overall, amongst his position, in the broad jump with a lengthy 10′-3″ official number. One inch more and the Combine would have had a three-way tie for first between Irvin, Nick Perry of USC, and Scott Solomon of Rice. Bruce dominated the brutal 3-Cone Drill with a first place official time of 6.70 seconds, and led the pack in the 20 yard Shuttle with a time of 4.03 seconds, both ranked by position, as well.

Overall, the NFL Combine resulted in Irvin being named Top Performer in several areas of evaluation. His confidence going into the Combine, coupled with his past obstacles and raw athletic talent, will assure that he will be playing at the next level. Several teams have already expressed interest in Irvin, including the Green Bay Packers, and many are trying to persuade the New Orleans Saints to take a look, as well. Regardless of which NFL team decides to draft Bruce Irvin, they can rest assured that they will not be disappointed.

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