Better Fit

Even when Bruce Irvin committed to Tennessee, he kept West Virginia in his thoughts. That state of mind, aided by some conversations with the Mountaineer coaching staff, led him to switch his allegiance to West Virginia.

"There were a few things that led to me committing to West Virginia," said Bruce Irvin, a five star defensive end prospect from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. "A lot of it was Coach Lonnie Galloway and the scheme that they run. Then there's the tradition of the program – it was all pretty much the best fit for me.

"I met Coach Galloway about a year and half ago, and I told him to just keep an eye on me. He did that, and he kept in contact with me, and when I had some film to back up what I was telling him about myself, I sent it in and told him that now he could see. They offered me, but I committed to Tennessee.

"Even when that happened, he still stayed in contact with me. He didn't negatively recruit against Tennessee, or say anything bad about them. He just kept checking in with me to find out how I was doing and how my family was, and things like that. He showed me love as a person, and didn't put pressure on. That opened my eyes to some of the things about recruiting, and about what's important. I wanted to be around people like that, so I committed to West Virginia."

It says a lot that Irvin would consider West Virginia's tradition on par with Tennessee's, but it's clear that the relationship he forged with Galloway was a major factor in his jump to WVU. Irvin spoke glowingly of Galloway and his talks, even while he was in the Volunteer fold.

After tearing up the field in California, he's now set to come east to do the same in Division I. He had 72 tackles, including 18 sacks and 21 tackles for losses in 2009. He forced three fumbles and recovered another, returning it 96 yards for a score, and also had ten quarterback hurries. Those numbers foreshadow his use as a pass rusher at West Virginia, and he has already discussed some scenarios in the way he will be used defensively.

"I think I will get up to around 240 or 245 pounds, but I want to keep my speed," said Irvin, who claims a 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash. "I have talked to Jeff Casteel and Bill Kirelawich, and they told me they might use me like a DeMarcus Ware. The may move me around so the offense won't know whether I'm blitzing or dropping back. They could line me up as a linebacker, or if they want to go with an extra man up front, I can drop down to defensive end without the defense having to change personnel."

Irvin has some experience in that sort of role, having moved around at times at Mt. San Antonio in order to keep opponents from keying on him. He believes he can have similar success at West Virginia, where the defensive scheme could be built around edge rushers with the ability to play both down and off the line of scrimmage.

"I just feel like at 6-4 and running a legit 4.4, there aren't many players that can do what I can do," he said with conviction. "I have three years to play two, but I am going to play this year. I am confident in what I can do, and that's the way I am going to approach it."


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