The Auburn signee is headed back to Kansas for one more semester of football at Butler County, Kan., Community College, where he was a second team All-Jayhawk Conference player last fall as a redshirt freshman.
Irons came up short of qualifying to play for Auburn and plans to play for Butler County this fall and transfer to Auburn in January. He will have two seasons of Division I eligibility starting with the 2004 season.
"It's disappointing--very, very disappointing," Irons told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I worked so hard at Butler to pass my classes so I would be eligible to play at Auburn. Then I busted my butt to pass the English Comp II class at Southern Union. I came up six points short of making a C.
"I am confident that I will pass it when I go back to Butler. I probably should have stayed there and took the class at Butler, but I wanted to come to Auburn and get prepared for the upcoming season and work out with the guys and get to know them. I got to meet a lot of the players and I plan to be back in December."
David Irons, Jr.
Irons originally signed with the Tigers as a highly regarded tailback out of Dacula High. However, he did not qualify academically and attended Butler County in Kansas where he redshirted in 2001 while recovering from a knee injury. Last year, as a 6-1, 187 redshirt freshman, he put together a strong season at cornerback and decided to again sign with the Tigers, picking AU over FSU and others. He made 45 tackles, deflected 11 passes and was generally avoided by opposing teams as he helped the Grizzlies to their conference championship.
After graduating from Butler County, he was eligible to play college football by NCAA Division I standards, but needed to pass additional classwork to be eligible to play at Auburn. He moved to Auburn this summer and took classes at Southern Union Community College's campus in Opelika, but didn't get the grade he needed to transfer the course to AU.
"David is really distraught about not being able to play for Auburn this year," says his father, David Irons Sr., a former NFL player with the Detroit Lions. "He thought about just going to play for another Division I program, but decided he wants to play for Auburn and will take care of his classwork at Butler and play this fall. Hopefully, he will be back in Auburn on the sideline with the team for a bowl game."
Irons originally signed with the Tigers in February 2001 after what was a senior high school season that was marred by an MCL sprain plus an ankle sprain. He missed three games completely that season and finished the year with 710 yards on 83 carries with 10 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 277 yards and five TDs. As a junior, Irons rushed for 1,349 yards and 18 touchdowns. For his high school career, he averaged 9.1 yards per carry and scored 43 touchdowns. He was also region champion in the 200 and 400 meters as a junior. His younger brother Kenny is a running back for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
With Irons not in the picture this fall, that increases the likelihood that last year's starter at strong safety, Junior Rosegreen, will play some cornerback in 2003. Redshirt freshman Montae Pitts is also expected to challenge for the starting job opposite the returning starter at the other corner, Carlos Rogers. Junior Lamel Ages finished spring drills No. 1 on the depth chart with Rogers. Incoming freshmen Eric Brock and and Patrick Lee are expected to get long looks at cornerback, too.