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Irvin still shocked by draft

April 30, 2012

MORGANTOWN - It had to be a huge surprise to most National Football League followers that Bruce Irvin was taken as the 15th overall selection of the 2012 draft.

Some question whether the 6-foot-3, 236-pound West Virginia University defensive end would even be a first-round pick. That's because of off-field problems.

As recent as last month, after his impressive performance in pre-draft Pro Day showings before NFL scouts, the Atlanta area native was arrested in Morgantown for disorderly conduct and destruction of property in the wee hours of the morning.

The Seattle Seahawks also were aware of the fact he was arrested and spent time in jail as he was growing up. But they obviously decided to take a chance on the extremely talented player.

Now it's up to Irvin to prove that he's a changed man and that bad behavior is behind him forever.

In a conference call from New York, even Irvin admitted that it was something of a shock that he was picked that high and by Seattle.

He said he was expecting to go "in the late first round, like 30-something." He hadn't visited Seattle and never worked out privately for the Seahawks.

No one from that franchise had contacted him since the NFL combine in February.

"That's what really shocked me, because I didn't think they were really interested," he said. "This pick just shocked me, man.

"I can't believe. I'm just astonished right now."

I most certainly wish the young man well. Surely, longtime, loyal WVU football fans hope he does well, too.

Irvin attended not one, but two junior colleges before coming to West Virginia, where he excelled as a quarterback sacker two years under Coach Bill Kirelawich.

As a standout on the defensive line in 2010 and 2011, he played in all 26 games, made 61 tackles, and was credited with 22 ? sacks.

You might say that Irvin not only was good - really good - but also lucky - very lucky.

Pete Carroll, Seattle's head coach, knew about him when Irvin was attending Mt. San Antonio Community College and he obviously had a huge say in picking the terrific pass-rusher.

Carroll recalled that he tried to recruit Irvin for the University of Southern California when he was coaching at the institution.

Irvin is projected as an outside linebacker/defensive end by the Seahawks.

"He's got extraordinary speed and tremendous flexibility, great instincts and a great motor," Carroll said. "He has all the things that make up a great pass-rusher.

"This is the kind of guy that puts fear in offensive tacklers. They've got to get off with him because he's just so fast."

The coach pointed out that Irvin runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds and Carroll believes he's been clocked at even faster than that.

"This is a rare guy, a rare chance to get a guy like this," Carroll concluded. "You just don't see many of them, so we're really thrilled about this."

Irvin is expected to sign with Seattle for a few million dollars.

He is only the ninth former WVU football star to be a first-round selection in the NFL.

The others were:

Joe Styadar, T, Chicago Bears, 1936

Joe Morconi, FB, Los Angeles Rams, 1956

Chuck Howley, OG, Chicago Bears, 1958

Dick Leftridge, FB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1966

Bryan Jozwiak, OT, Kansas City Chiefs, 1986

Renaldo Turnbull, DE, New Orleans Saints, 1990

Anthony Becht, TE, New York Jets, 2000

Adam "Pacman" Jones, DB, Tennessee Titans, 2005



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