Big Decisions

The weight of making a college choice is a big one for any football player, but one junior college recruiting target has double the pressure on him this week as he mulls his collegiate choice.

Defensive back Blair Irvin, who previously committed to Auburn, plans to make his final college choice "in the next three or four days". While that decision is momentous enough, he also recently made another one that set an even bigger deadline on him.

"My fiance and I are getting married in a week," Irvin said after returning from a recruiting visit to West Virginia. "Wherever I end up, she will come with me, take classes and work. She graduated from Coffeyville (where Irvin currently attends school) in 2002, and was the assistant basketball coach."

If that graduation date sounds like it heralds a sizeable age difference between Irvin and his finacee, remember that appearances can be deceiving. Irvin actually graduated from high school in 2001 and played professional baseball for four years before taking another shot at football with Coffeyville. He picked up right where he left off, and quickly became a prized junior college recruiting target.

At Patterson High School in Louisiana, he was one of the top-rated defensive backs in the country before signing with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and detouring to the baseball diamond for four years. Like another former Mountaineer, Kay Jay Harris, Irvin decided that the best route for a return to collegiate football was through the Kansas junior college system, which led him to Coffeyville.

He'll need the extra maturity that the years in the minor leauges helped him develop, as the pressures of planning a wedding or picking a college are probably two of the biggest ones any young man can face. Unfazed, Irvin has stacked the two together. The decision doesn't seem to be affecting him, however, as he has remained calm and cool during his interviews.

"I am trying to weigh out my options, and make the right decisions for me and my future wife," Irvin said.

As for his trip to West Virginia, it seems to have a least given the Mountaineers a chance in the race for his services. In addition to Auburn, Kansas State and WVU are the main contenders.

"They are all pretty even right now," he said. "I'll be making my decision in two or three days. I just need to weigh everything out."

Irvin made good use of his trip to West Virginia, and got a good look at everything he wanted to see.

"The visit was fine. It was the first time I had seen that area. The coaching staff was really nice, and I got to visit with them. The players talked with me a lot, too. They made me feel welcome."

Irvin also was impressed with the WVU program as a whole, and sees opportunities for him right away.

"The program is very strong," he noted. They have a lot of guys coming back on offense, but they have three cornerbacks that are graduating. That fits my situation pretty good."

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