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March 21, 2006

Moving on up

Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure athlete/tight end Blaine Irby might be the fastest rising prospect on the West Coast.

The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder already had a very impressive resume of scholarship offers from Arizona State, California, Michigan, Ole Miss and Oregon. But two major national players stepped up with verbal offers on Monday.

"I got two verbal offers from Miami and Texas," said Irby, who took home top SPARQ testing honors at the recent NIKE Combine held at Orange Coast Junior College.

"It was awesome to get both of those. I'm really excited about it, because they're both really good programs. This weekend I received a written offer from Washington State in the mail."

Irby clocked a 4.82 electronic 40-yard dash, a 4.35-second time in the shuttle, did 26 reps in the bench press and jumped 31 inches in the vertical jump. Those testing results and his play on the field have started to attract attention from all over the nation. At this point, he does not have a leader.

"Basically all the teams who have offered me are my leaders," Irby said. "I don't know a whole lot about some of them so I'm going to keep them all even until I get a chance to go check them out."

The checking out process begins this weekend when he travels to Austin, Texas.

"This weekend I'm going down to Texas for their Junior Day and during the spring I'm going to hit up all the schools who have offered me for a weekend at a time so I can check them all out," he said.

Irby grew up in Tempe, Ariz., and said he followed the Sun Devils when he was younger. Arizona State was the first to extend an offer, and that's something that does stick out in his mind.

"I grew up following Arizona State since I grew up in Tempe for 15 years," he said. "Since they were the first to offer I was real excited about it and now a few other teams have come along so it's evened out a little. I think they'll always at least be in my top five."

Irby will camp this summer at the NIKE Camp, and he's not sure what his other plans are at this time. He's also not sure what his time table for a decision will be. He hopes it's sooner, rather than later, but he's also not ready to commit to a commitment timetable.

"It would be nice to have a decision before the season," he said. "I kind of want to have fun with the recruiting process and figure things out afterwards. I think I want to take my time with my decision and take all my visits."


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