Julius Irvin Has Talent, NFL Bloodlines, Should Be Ready to Play for UW Now

Dan Raley

Wiseacre Alabama fans snickered and called him "Dr. J" on their message boards when the Crimson Tide began recruiting him late. Yet Julius Irvin carries NFL, not NBA, bloodlines. Either way, he has exquisite genes.

The University of Washington sophomore defensive back is the youngest of four offspring for LeRoy Irvin, the cornerback legend for the Los Angeles Rams and a four-time All-Pro selection during an often electric 11-year career. 

This Irvin plays both corner and safety for the Huskies, but he's hasn't really played. He remains possibly the most talented person on the roster who hasn't adequately shown what he can do.

Shoulder and knee injuries limited him to just four games in 2019. A redshirt season prevented him from playing more than four in 2018.

Irvin appears ready to go whenever college football restarts in the face of the ongoing covid coronavirus pandemic. Big things are expected. 

"He's going to compete for a starting job," UW defensive-backs coach Will Harris said recently. "He had a knee injury that nagged him a little bit. He's healthy. His mind is right."

Everyone has been patiently waiting on the 6-foot-1, 196-pounder from Anaheim, California. Coaches, teammates, fans. 

He was a four-star recruit who chose the Huskies over Alabama, USC, Notre Dame and Michigan, among countless others. He was a headliner talent coming in.

Irvin's father emerged from the University of Kansas to become a Rams favorite. In his exemplary pro career, LeRoy intercepted 35 passes and returned five of them for touchdowns. He called himself "the Iceman."

He still holds the NFL record for most punt return yards in a game, piling up an amazing 207 total against the Atlanta Falcons in 1981.

Julius Irvin brings the same sort of yardage-gobbling ability to the football field. As a senior at Servite High -- a school attended by Husky teammates Keith Taylor and Terrell Bynum -- he also was a wide receiver who averaged an incredible 46.2 yards per reception on 12 catches.

Irvin, however, has a bond with his mom Joyce that's as close or closer than his connection to his dad. She accompanied Julius on his UW recruiting trip. 

A few weeks after choosing the Huskies in 2017, he came home to find her lying on the floor, unresponsive, and he called for emergency personnel. She'd suffered a brain aneurysm.

"It was a scare that day," he told the Orange Country Register.

"It makes me want to cry," LeRoy Irvin said at the same time.

In a show of support, Julius' classmates began chanting "purple reign" when he showed up for a Servite basketball game soon after.

He landed at Washington after making a connection with Jimmy Lake, then the defensive coordinator and now the UW head coach. He could have gone anywhere.

"It's tough to turn down a prestigious university like Notre Dame, a dynasty like Alabama and a program like USC, where I'm comfortable being a Southern California kid," Irvin told 247Sports. "But I knew Washington is where I fit."

The Huskies liken Irvin to another Kevin King, someone who could play all of the secondary positions and is now with the Green Bay Packers. 

Look for Julius to settle into one this fall as a starter and not give it up.

SUMMARY: Irvin has appeared in eight Husky games. He has one tackle to his credit. Minutes and stats should come in bunches now.

GRADE (1 to 5): He gets a 3.5, which is generous considering his lack of playing sample. The UW defensive backfield is a competitive place. He fits right in.

Comments (2)
No. 1-2
SI Mike Martin
SI Mike Martin

I think that as of right now I'll agree with your rating. When all is said and done he's going to be one of the better DBs on the roster.

Dan Raley
Dan Raley

Editor

I think he'll be a starter. So who sits?


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