April 1, 2010

2012 pass rusher opening eyes

When college coaches hit the road at the end of April for the start of the spring evaluation process, one of the things they'll be in constant pursuit of is defensive players who can eventually develop into premier players off the edge.

Guys that possess the kind of elite speed and quickness needed to become elite-level pass rushers are worth their weight in gold because they are so few and far between. Because of that fact, you can be certain that Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson will be must-stop destination for the next two seasons.

Although the meat of the 2011 recruiting year is currently underway, the upcoming spring will be about 2012 evaluation for some schools and one of the top defensive end prospects in the Lone Star State is Victor Irokansi.

The 6-3, 210-pound Irokansi first opened eyes last summer coming out of his freshman campaign, but as a sophomore at Hendrickson he the kind of athleticism and ability on the field that should make him a top-level prospect.

With spring football right around the corner, Irokansi's primary goal this off-season has been adding the kind of strength and muscle to his frame that will allow him to remain on the defensive line at the next level.

"I'm a guy that likes to lift a lot," Irokansi, who has gained 10 pounds since last summer, said. "I usually lift twice a day, I'll lift in our off-season workouts and then I'll lift in the morning or the afternoon. I'm in track right now, so I'm also working on my speed."

Although he's been limited this spring because of a leg injury, Irokansi is running sprints with the Hendrickson track team this spring and is expecting to return to the track later this month.

"I'm just trying to do whatever it takes to get better," Irokansi, who has a 3.34 GPA, said. "I just want to go somewhere where I can win. I prefer to play defensive. My goal since the seventh grade was to get on varsity as a sophomore and I felt like I did a good job. We had to step in and play better than sophomores. I think we did that."

As far as recruiting is concerned, Irokansi plans to attend quite a few camps this summer and he's been receiving light mail from the likes of UCLA and West Virginia, but he admitted that he does have a favorite heading into the process.

"I know a lot of people don't like doing this because you don't want it to keep other schools from recruiting you, but I'm a Longhorn. I was born in Austin and if Texas were to offer, there would be no question about it."

Still, Irokansi is taking nothing for granted and he's keeping an open mind.

"I need to keep my eyes open and just keep working so that I can have some options. I'll do some camps this summer," Irokansi said.

Irokansi first opened eyes on the national scene at an Underclassmen Combine in Duncanville, when he posted a 4.86 40-yard dash and a 32-inch vertical, while taking home MVP honors among the defensive linemen at the event. One of Irokansi's biggest fans at the event was Rivals.com national analyst Barry Every.

"(Irokansi was) possibly the best-looking overall physique at this event with speed to burn," Every reported on Rivals.com "One of two things will happen for this prospect at the next level. He will either become a pass-rushing specialist with his hand on the ground or a huge OLB with the wing span of a condor."

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