Hart High School -- Newhall, California
Wide receiver. 6'2" 181 pounds.
Rivals Rank: Five stars; #6 wide receiver.
ESPN Rank: Four stars; #18 wide receiver.
Scout Rank: Four stars; #12 wide receiver.
247 Rank: Four stars; #10 wide receiver.
Key Offers: Arizona State, Cal, Oregon State, Penn State, UCLA, Washington
Without question, Trent Irwin is the jewel of this recruiting class. Rivals pegs him as the sixth-best wide receiver in this class, and that's significant. A quick perusal of the Rivals database (at least back to 2002 when they started tracking such things) reveals that Stanford has never signed a more highly-touted wide receiver prospect. Here's a look at all of the top-100 receiver recruits to choose the Cardinal during that time. It's a short list:
- 2003 Mark Bradford (6)
- 2009 Jemari Roberts (18)
- 2013 Francis Owusu (20)
- 2009 Jamal-Rashad Patterson (28)
- 2011 Ty Montgomery (30)
- 2008 Chris Owusu (36)
- 2012 Kodi Whitfield (48)
- 2007 Corey Gatewood (50)
- 2009 Drew Terrell (57)
- 2007 Sean Wiser (80)
- 2012 Conner Crane (87)
- 2013 Taijuan Thomas (89)
But remember that stars and rankings don't matter when the players step on the field. If you're a wide receiver, all that matters is route-running, hands, and speed, and Irwin doesn't lack in any of those areas. When you watch his game film, what you notice first is how different it looks from film of the typical elite wide receiver prospect. You don't see play after play of Irwin sprinting past outclassed defensive backs. He can certainly do that (and he does), but he's more of a technician. He excels at running actual routes, not just post patterns, and he catches everything he touches. The Stanford coaches have raved about his "catch radius," and I'm sure his Stanford quarterbacks will grow to appreciate that as well.
Another bonus with Irwin is that he's more college ready than many of his peers. While many elite prep wide receivers languish in offenses that can't take advantage of their skills, Irwin had the advantage of catching passes from a Division I quarterback, Brady White, who's headed to Arizona State. (In fact, through much of the recruiting process, it was widely assumed that Irwin would sign with the Sun Devils as well to keep that connection alive.)
That connection with White yielded big results on the field. Irwin played varsity football for four years, and during that time he compiled 285 receptions for 5,272 yards, both California prep records. Following his senior season he received a boatload of year-end awards, the most notable honor being selection to the 2015 Parade All-America team. (Another member of this recruiting class, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, is the other receiver named to that squad.)
Because of his time with White and his attention to the details of route running, Irwin is ready to play on Saturdays right now. If it weren't for the Cardinal's depth at his position, he might have even been able to challenge for a starting position. As it is, I'm sure he'll find his way onto the field in some capacity, and he'll certainly be starting -- and starring -- by 2016.
[Photo Credit: Hans Gutknecht]