Draft Profile – Bruce Irvin


Bruce Irvin/Outside Linebacker-Defensive End

Personal

Name – Bruce Pernell Irvin, Jr.

Born – November 1, 1987 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Parents/Family – Bruce P. Irvin, Jr.; mother Bessie Lee; stepfather Rufus Lee. His parents divorced when Bruce Jr. was three years old. His mother Bessie re-married when he was six years old. She works for the IRS. His stepfather Rufus Lee played football at Florida State University and is a truck driver. He has two brothers – Chad Allen is older and Brandon Irvin is younger.

Physical

  • Height – 6-feet, 2½ inches.
  • Weight – 245 pounds.
  • Arm – 33 3/8 inches.
  • Hand – 9 5/8 inches.
  • Wingspan – 78¼ inches.

NFL Combine

  • 40-yard dash – 4.5 seconds (official), 4.43 seconds (unofficial).
  • Bench press – 23 reps with 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 33.5 inches.
  • Broad jump – 123 inches.
  • 3-cone drill – 6.7 seconds.
  • 20-yard shuttle – 4.03 seconds.

Hometown

Irvin grew up in Atlanta, spending most of his formative years in public housing and on the mean streets of the ATL. At one point when he was 17 years old, Irvin dropped out of high school to earn money to help out his mother. He did that by getting involved in drug dealing and larceny. That’s what led to his spending three weeks in jail. When he was released, his stepfather would not allow him to move back in to the home and Irvin bounced around from the homes of family and friends for the next year.

High School

He attended Stockbridge High School in Henry County, southeast of the downtown Atlanta, before he transferred to Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, DeKalb County, northeast of downtown Atlanta. He was a wide receiver on a Jaguars team that finished 10-3 and reached the quarterfinals of the Georgia 5-A championships in 2006 before losing to eventual champion Peachtree Ridge. Also on that roster were a number of future NFL players like New England LB Jermaine Cunningham, LB Kelvin Sheppard of Buffalo and LB Perry Riley of Washington. That was the only season of high school football that he played. “He was probably the best athlete in the program, probably the best athlete in the school,” Stephenson football coach Ron Gartrell said. “I watched him on the football field and saw the things he could do on a basketball court, his strength. A lot of those guys were one-position guys. Bruce could have played anywhere.”

In the fall of 2007, facing school and legal troubles, Irvin dropped out of Stephenson. That eventually led to three weeks in a local jail on larceny charges and homeless status after his stepfather would not allow him to return home once he was released from jail.

Moments That Changed His Life

Irvin quickly recites the day the path of his life changed – November 14, 2007. He had woken up one morning a week earlier and decided he was going to take his GED test in hopes of creating a future for himself in college football. He also moved out of the house he was staying in, a friend’s place that was also a drug house. A few days later – November 14 – his friend called him from jail. The house had been raided by police one day after Irvin out.

“He said go to school,” Irvin remembers of the phone call. “God got you out of that house for a reason. Go to school and don’t look back. I’ve never looked back since then.”

Junior College

Butler County (KS) Community College – Irvin passed his GED test without problem on December 21, 2007 and immediately set out to find a spot for himself in college football. His journey took him to El Dorado, Kansas, where his older brother paid the tuition and he attended spring practices at BCCC as a walk-on. He was told that the program could only give scholarships to 12 out-of-state players on the roster and he did not earn one of those dozen spots. He was asked to stay and redshirt. Irvin stayed in classes through the fall, but decided to head further west at the suggestion of a former BCCC teammates Julio Sanchez.


Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, California – He landed at Mt. Sac which is located on the eastern edge of the urban/suburban sprawl that is Los Angeles. Irvin had no game tape to show the Mounties coaching staff, so he sent them a tape of him working out, including running stadium steps. He really drew attention at a Junior College combine held in southern California in the spring of 2009. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds and drew recruiting attention from Tennessee, Southern Cal, LSU and a host of other top 25 football programs.

2009 – In his only season on the field for the Mounties, Irvin was the team’s second leading tackler with 72 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, 5 passes broken up, 3 forced fumbles and a 96-yard touchdown return with a recovered fumble. In the first three games, he played at safety, before the coaching staff moved him to defensive end. In that season, he was the fastest player on the squad. He was named first-team junior college All-America and Mt. Sac finished 13-1 and won the California state JUCO title with a victory over the College of San Mateo 7-6. That victory also gave them national championship designations from several media outlets.

Recruitment

After the 2009 season at Mt. Sac, The Scout ratings service listed him as the No. 2 junior college player in the country, as a 5-star player at 6-4, 230 pounds. The Rivals ratings service listed him as the No. 6 overall junior college prospect, with a 5-star rating at 6-3, 235 pounds.

Before the ’09 season, Irvin gave a verbal commitment to Tennessee. Then in October ’09, he gave a verbal commitment to Arizona State. It wasn’t until December 18, 2009 that he committed and signed his letter of intent to play at West Virginia.

University of West Virginia

In two seasons with the Mountaineers, Irvin played in 26 games, with 61 total tackles and 22 sacks for head coaches Bill Stewart (2010) and Dana Holgorsen (2011).

2011 – Irvin started the first five games of the season, but was moved out of the starting lineup so he could get fewer snaps, but more results. His best performance came against Pitt, when he had 7 total tackles and 2 sacks. He also had 6 tackles and 2 sacks against Louisville. In WVU’s huge victory in the Orange Bowl, he had 2 tackles and a sack against Clemson. He was named first-team All-Big East for his performance.

2010 – In his first season in Morgantown, Irvin broke through against Maryland, when he finished with 4 tackles and 3 sacks. Against both Connecticut and Louisville, he had 3 tackles and 2 sacks. In the Champs Sports Bowl, he had 3 tackles and 2 sacks vs. North Carolina State.

(Statistics are from the NCAA and in some cases are different than West Virginia’s stats.)

Year

G/S

Tkl

TFL

SK

QBH

FF

PBU

Rec.

2011

13/6

40

14.5

8

2

3

0

10-3*

2010

13/0

21

14

14

2

2

1

9-4*

Total

26/6

61

28.5

22

4

5

1

19-7

*-Played in Orange Bowl (2011) and Champs Sports Bowl (2010).

Video

A fan’s video project of Irvin’s junior season – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6leAL3eK9jo

(If you don’t like rap, turn the volume down beforehand. Irvin is No. 11.)

Compulation of several 2010 games- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So3cc75Ng2g&feature=related

Interview from spring 2011 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owERD49ghZo&feature=related

What Bruce Irvin said

“You never know what tomorrow’s going to hold. You don’t know if you’re going to be locked up, if someone’s going to rob you or if someone’s going to get you back for stuff you did to them. There’s a lot of confusion.”

“I like seeing what people think. That stuff really motivates me at practice. I might be tired and want to slack a little, but I think about message boards or articles about me being overrated and I think, ‘No, I’ve got to go get it.’ So I use it as a motivational tool.”

“I started my senior year, maybe four to five games and it just wasn’t working out. I noticed coming off my junior year, less was more for me. Playing 6, 7, 8 snaps and me getting two sacks or more was really productive for me. And not getting injured and coming out of the game with a bunch of bruises. I think I benefited from playing less.”

What they said about Bruce Irvin

“He’s always been the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen or known personally.” Washington Redskins LB and high school teammate Perry Riley.

Evaluation

Strengths – Irvin played in a 3-3-5 defensive scheme were essentially he was a down DE, playing there at 245 pounds. He’s going to go to a team with a 3-4 scheme because his size will limit where he fits with a 4-3 defense. From a pass rushing view Irvin is one of the best in the draft. He has the physical tools needed for an edge rusher with his speed and quickness. Despite limited chances on the field over his career, he’s got solid fundamentals for an edge rusher, as he’s able to drop his pad level, dip his shoulders and roll through by bending his knees and ankles. Because he’s not very big or strong, he’s had to develop pass rush moves with his speed and hands and that puts him ahead of most guys coming out of college. Poor tackles on the edge will watch him blow past all day. Very good motor, who will chase plays and never stops running until the whistle blows.

Deficient – Pass coverage is unknown territory for Irvin, who played the last two years with his hand on the ground. Transitioning to a standing position and then dropping back into coverage creates a combination that will require plenty of coaching and a lot of reps. Also unknown for the most part is his ability to play the run on the edge. To become a three-down player in the NFL, he will have to show he has the balance and strength to hold up his end.

Analysis – He will enter the NFL as essentially a one-trick pony – pass rusher. If that’s his sole skill then it’s a good one to have, because every team in the league is always looking for more help in getting after the quarterback. He’s raw as raw can be and given the right coaching staff and situation with playing time, he could become quite a contributor. If a team needs him to step right in and do anything more than rushing the passer in the nickel and work the special teams, then they’ll be disappointed with what happens that first season.

What the scouts said about Bruce Irvin

NFC scout – “What this guy has overcome is impressive, but it will stick in the minds of every team in evaluating him. A team is going to have to match him up with a solid player-support program at the start of his career to make sure he doesn’t backslide when the money starts flowing.”

NFC scout – “He’s a pass rusher and it’s hard to see him being much more than that. He just doesn’t have enough tape to see him and see how much head room there might be with him. Is this as good as he’ll ever be, or is there room for growth?”

Does he fit with the Chiefs?

Do the Chiefs need pass rushing help? Of course they do. Would Irvin help them? Maybe, but it would be a gamble considering how raw his skills are. His status as a second-third-fourth round prospect, makes Irvin a gamble, one that the Chiefs need not take. They need a player that’s a bit more ready to rush the passer in the NFL right now.

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