Skip to main content

Freak of the Week: Kaden Irving

Week 2 in high school football brings a new Freak of the Week performance from a junior quarterback who may elect not to play football in college

"Freak" is a term thrown around too much in the sports world, but sometimes, it's the first phrase that crowds the cranium when a gaudy athletic feat takes place.

What about an entire game's worth of head-turning and gasps?

SI All-American continues its salute to these dominant high school football players in a weekly feature, aptly titled 'Freak of the Week,' going out to a remarkable Friday night performance. 

Kaden Irving is the Week 2 Freak of the Week. 

A two-sport star already verbally committed to the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team, Irving is also one of the top quarterbacks in the junior class and showed why on Friday night as Gautier (Miss.) High School won a shootout over Pascagoula (Miss.) High, 52-41, on Friday night. Irving was the Gators' driving force in the win. 

27 of 37 for 493 yards and 6 touchdowns through the air, 14 yards and another score as a runner. 

"That was my best game of my high school career," Irving told SI All-American. "At one point in the game, we were down two touchdowns. So coming out after halftime--just fighting and scoring really quick-- it was something that was great. 

"If you were there, it was one of those grab-your-popcorn-and-watch-the-game kind of nights. It was a fun game."

Irving's football prowess and production are nothing new. In 2020, he guided Gautier in seven games, totaling a whopping 2,399 yards and 15 touchdowns in limited action. Two more scores came on the ground for the then-sophomore, who led the state of Mississippi in passing yards per game at 342.7. 

This was a rivalry game, though, and it felt even better for one of Mississippi's top juniors. 

"I knew they had some young DBs and we have guys with experience," he said. "I knew it was going to be a fun night."

Irving is a unique talent at the prep level, to say the least. He has been verbally committed to play baseball at Ole Miss for nearly two years despite strong football exploits as a 6'2", 215-pound passer. He pitches and plays third base on the diamond, skills which absolutely help his quarterbacking on Friday nights. 

Read More

"Can make a throw from any arm slot," Irving said of his game. "Doesn't get rattled very easily, can stand there and take his hits, completing passes. Not much of a dual-threat quarterback but I can run when I need to. 

"Baseball has saved my butt plenty of times in football. The other night I'm rolling out left, and if I throw it over the top it probably would have been intercepted or batted down by the D-end, but I was able to go to that side arm slot. It fits into windows where throwing out of one arm slot can't."

Kaden Irving

Kaden Irving at QB

Like most well-known baseball prospects, there are layers of decisions ahead of Irving that most don't get to deal with. Beyond contact with several football coaching staffs as a potential quarterback, including with Ole Miss, there are professional prospects also potentially on the table in 2023.

Irving's stock is on the rise in baseball, too. 

"Coming into this summer, I was nationally known, but wasn't getting the attention like some of these other guys in my class," he said. "I'm a dual-sport athlete, so I'm unable to go to all the showcases in the offseason for baseball. 

"I got to make it to one this summer and my numbers were off the charts. I ended up breaking a Perfect Game junior national record for exit velo (velocity) and I played great in the games. I hit 102 (miles per hour) off the bat. My rankings improved dramatically and people were starting to call me every day." 

The junior is focused on football right now as Gautier looks to make a Mississippi state playoff run. After that point, though, there will be a strong shift to baseball season for the all-important junior campaign. That could dictate how the rest of the decision-making process is handled between options to move forward.

Football continues to be, at least, a part of the conversation.

"That's just one of those things I'm going to have to figure out in the next year, I've got a lot of big decisions coming up," he said. "I've been talking to a lot of schools, they're just trying to figure out if I want to play football or not. Every time I talk to a coach it's like, 'Do you really love football?'" 

In the meantime, the numbers at quarterback continue to pile up, leading the Gator offense to 42.5 points per game early in 2021. 

2021 Freak of the Week Archive

Week 0 - Pike Road (Ala.) Quarterback Iverson Hooks

Week 1 - Port St. Lucie (Fla.) Running Back Eden James