Senior defensive back Jay Irvine (Sandalwood/Jacksonville, Fla.) clearly remembers when Maryland assistant and Florida area recruiter Keenan McCardell first trekked through his high school back during the spring evaluation period. At the time, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Irvine didn’t have very much recruiting interest, and when McCardell expressed a desire to maintain contact with him, well, the Sunshine State corner/safety was ecstatic.
“For a good while Maryland was like my favorite school – that was my No. 1,” said Irvine, a converted receiver. “But after awhile I started to see the bigger picture and I wasn’t so sure they were going to [recruit] me. Coach McCardell just hit me up again, though, and now they’re back in the game. [McCardell] said he’s talking to their defensive backs coach [Brian Stewart] and their head coach [Randy Edsall] and he’s getting back to me about an offer.”
If the firm scholarship comes to fruition, Irvine said he’d likely take an official visit to College Park, Md., Jan. 30. He’s also considering visiting Middle Tennessee, which has long had an offer out to him, on that date. Irvine will take his first official to Oregon State Jan. 16, followed by Wake Forest Jan. 23.
“Coach McCardell, I really like him, and he really wants me there. He wants me to come up there for a visit. He’s trying to get me and my cousin, [running back] Javarius Davis (Ed White/Jacksonville, Fla.), to come up there together,” Irvine said. “[McCardell] said he likes my game a lot, and he thinks I can have a big impact there. He said he’s recruited a couple guys from Florida, and he likes the athletes down here. He said I can play corner, safety and special teams [at Maryland], and I could potentially have an impact at any of those spots.”
Irvine admitted, however, that he hasn’t looked too deeply into the Terps’ program, despite calling it his “favorite” back during the summer. He is aware that UMD is coming off a winning season in the Big Ten and is potentially in need of defensive backs.
“I know Maryland is a good school academically, and I know they had a pretty good year this year,” Irvine said. “I’ll find out more if I go up there for my official. I’m still looking into them.”
While the Terps do have Irvine’s attention, he said Oregon State is a clear favorite at this point. The Beavers have had a longstanding relationship with the Florida athlete, and have an immediate need at cornerback.
“I’d say Oregon State is the leader right now,” Irvine said. “They were the first big school to really give me a chance. I talk to their coaches like every day, both their defensive coordinator and their defensive backs coach. I know I can come in and start right away, because they need corners. I know I can have an impact there right away.”
Irvine admitted if he’s enthralled with OSU this weekend, he could commit while on campus, or shortly thereafter. That said, he’ll probably hold off until at least after trekking to Winston Salem, N.C., Jan. 23.
“Wake Forest, I’m high on them too. I feel real comfortable with them,” Irvine said. “Wake is like No. 2 for me. They’re a real good academic school, and their coaches really want me. They’re a rebuilding program, and they need corners just like Oregon State. [Wake has] a real good campus, and I like it a lot.”
Middle Tennessee also has Irvine’s eye. He originally was going to visit Purdue, Idaho or Iowa State Jan. 30, but recently replaced that trip with MTSU, or possibly Maryland.
“Middle Tennessee has been recruiting me hard for awhile now,” Irvine said. “I know I can step right in there and play early. I like them too.”
Irvine currently claims offers from all of the aforementioned schools (MTSU, Wake, Oregon State, Purdue, Iowa State and Idaho, with UMD pending), in addition to Duke, Florida A&M, USF, Georgia Southern and South Dakota State. He is coming off a senior season where he recorded 66 tackles, five interceptions and 12 pass breakups.
“I think I had a real good year,” Irvine said. “I worked real hard over the summer at corner, because I knew that position was my best shot at the college level, and I knew I’d be switching over from receiver. I ran a 4.4 [40 yard dash] at a camp at Georgia, so I knew once I got my technique down I’d be good [at corner].
“I like to man up and press, because I’m real fast and can run with receivers, but I can play zone too. I like to get in peoples’ heads and get real physical. I covered a couple top receivers from this area and I locked them up this year, so I think I did real good.”
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