West Virginia's Bruce Irvin: A Player To Watch

RG YohoCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 01:  Linebacker Nigel Bradham #13 of the Florida State Seminoles tries to get to quarterback Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl on January 1, 2010 at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. Florida State defeated West Virginia 33-21 in Bobby Bowden's last game as a head coach for the Seminoles.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

When West Virginia signed Bruce Irvin, a junior college All-American, to a national letter of intent, Coach Bill Stewart believed he may have signed a recruit who could take the Mountaineer defense to the next level.

A product of Mt. San Antonio Community College in Walnut, California, the 6-3, 235-pound defensive end was named the sixth-ranked junior college prospect in the nation. Moreover, his outstanding skills on the gridiron led to a number of outstanding Division I programs offering Irvin a scholarship.

According to Irvin, LSU, one of West Virginia’s 2010 opponents, was also one of the programs trying to win his services this fall.

With that much hype surrounding an individual player, the prospect often fails to live up to expectations. However, now that Irvin has been given a chance to show the Mountaineers what he can do in fall practice, the list of believers is quickly growing.

Following the Mountaineers’ first scrimmage, Coach Stewart, Noel Devine, and linebacker J.T. Thomas all bragged on Irvin’s strength and quickness.

Stewart claimed the two bright spots in the scrimmage were Noel Devine and Bruce Irvin.

Perhaps Bruce Ervin can do for West Virginia what George Selvie did for the South Florida Bulls and Elvis Dumervil did for Louisville.

In past columns, I have made no secret of my belief that West Virginia’s Julian Miller is going to be an absolutely dominant player for the prevent unit. The addition of Irvin should only prove to make the Mountaineer defense one of the league’s best.

It has long been said that “offense wins games but defense wins championships.”

With Noel Devine, Bradley Starks, Tavon Austin, and Jock Sanders in the lineup, the Mountaineers will suffer no shortage of offensive firepower.

I am confident that West Virginia will light up the scoreboard often throughout this season.

However, the budding potential of this Mountaineer defense should return the Big East title to its rightful home in Morgantown, West Virginia.

In addition, I also think the West Virginia partisans could see a return to the days when they will see some scoring opportunities come from the defensive side of the football.

JUCO star, Bruce Irvin might be the last piece of the puzzle.

Like many of today’s players in Morgantown, Irvin started following the Mountaineer program during the Pat White and Steve Slaton era.

West Virginia fans are hoping that the play of Bruce Irvin can inspire that same kind of Mountaineer excitement on the defensive side of the football in 2010.