MUSTANG — Every summer, there are a few high school football players who create a buzz with their performance at camps and combines, catching the eye of college recruiters, even if the players haven't had substantial game experience to show their talent.
This year, Mustang linebacker Cory Irwins is likely the top player to fall into that category.
He impressed coaches at Oklahoma's recent prospect camp, and Tulsa coaches were intrigued when Mustang attended the Golden Hurricane's high school team camp earlier this month.
Oklahoma State, Oregon State and a few others are showing strong interest already, but Irwins knows the offers will have to wait.
The 6-foot-3, 213-pound linebacker fought through knee pain as a sophomore. He suffered a shoulder injury during the second game of his junior year, just as it appeared he was on the edge of a breakout season.
“They say they like my size and speed,” said Irwins, rated No. 27 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 recruiting rankings. “I just got cleared to start lifting again in April after my shoulder surgery, so I'm still trying to hit the weight room hard.
“I'm not feeling any pain in my shoulder though. It's actually better than I thought it would be. I have to wear a brace, and I don't like it, but I'll work with it.”
Irwins is projected as a linebacker in college, but he'll get to play both ways this fall, with the potential to make a significant impact as a running back. He played the position in one game last year — the game he injured his shoulder — carrying 10 times for 75 yards and a touchdown.
“They told me they'll try to give me more carries this year,” Irwins said. “I like that. It's fun.”
Mustang has some other recruitable prospects with more game experience who will also attract attention. Guys such as defensive end Tucker Calmus and receiver Dakota Warrington are coming off strong junior seasons and will have good opportunities at the next level.
Yet Irwins is the player wrapped in intrigue. His speed and agility in a long frame make scouts drool.
But colleges don't offer scholarships to every player with impressive measurables. They want to see it in action at game time, too, and if Irwins does the work on the field, he could rocket up recruiting lists before signing day.
“They want to see me on the field and see more game tape,” Irwins said. “They want to see if I can get through the season without any problems. I just need to work hard, so I can make it through the season.”
The Oklahoman's Super 30
Name: Cory Irwins
Weight: 213 pounds
Offers: None yet, but strong interest from OU, OSU, Tulsa, Oregon State and New Mexico, among others.