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Bruce Irvin's road to the NFL was a struggle.
Bruce Irvin went 15th overall to the Seattle Seahawks in the 2012 NFL draft, but it wasn't an easy journey for the 6'3", 245-pound pass-rusher from Atlanta, Ga.
As a sophomore in high school, Irvin's bad grades made him ineligible to play football. Little did he know that he would never play another down at the high school level. By the time he was a junior, Irvin dropped out of school to live a misguided life on the streets.
Over the next couple of years, Irvin was dealing drugs, and he spent over two weeks in jail for robbery.
Irvin's mindset did not change until he received some advice from a friend who was arrested for trafficking cocaine. At this point, Irvin knew he had to make the most of his talent on the football field.
His friend said: "You're blessed with something that a lot of dudes don't have," Irvin told Thayer Evans of FoxSports.com. "Man, go to school and whatever you do, don't look back."
Irvin took his chance and ran with it.
With the guidance of Chad Allen—a local football coach who saw something in him—Irvin earned his GED in December 2007. Without fulfilling a general education requirement, Irvin would have had no shot at playing college football, and living a successful life would appear doubtful.
Irvin initially attended Butler Community College in Kansas, but he didn't play on the football team. In the fall of 2008, Irvin found himself at Mt. San Antonio College in California, and he was able to play football.
Although financial woes made paying for the school tough, Irvin's family helped him fight through the adversity. After a prolific season where he registered 16 sacks and 72 tackles at defensive end, Irvin found his name among the most elite junior college prospects in the nation.
Staggering numbers left Irvin with Division I football offers; he chose West Virginia. And it was a decision that has paved the way for the rest of his life.
In his two years with the Mountaineers, Irvin totaled 22.5 sacks. His proficiency rushing the passer along with his tremendous athletic showcase at the NFL Scouting Combine sparked him up the draft boards.
On May 7, Irvin inked a four-year deal with the Seahawks, worth $9.3 million, according to NFL salary-cap analyst Andrew Brandt.
Irvin's life has come full circle.