Foundation Academy cornerback Denzel Irvin received his first FBS scholarship offer from UNC-Charlotte on Thursday (June 6). (CHRIS HAYS/ORLANDO SENTINEL)
If Denzel Irvin decides that his college football path will take him the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, he could certainly draw from past experience when it comes to trying to help put a budding football program on the map.
That’s exactly what Irvin, who received his first college football scholarship offer on Thursday from Charlotte, has been trying to help accomplish at Winter Garden Foundation Academy.
The Lions made the Florida Class 2A playoffs for the first time in school history last year and ground has been broken on what the Foundation administration and head coach Brad Lord hopes will be many playoff games ahead.
For Irvin, who is ranked No. 41 in the Sentinel's 2014 Central Florida Super60, this will be his last season in 2013 and he’s trying to figure out where he will play college football.
“I feel pretty good … blessed actually,” Irvin said. “I’m just happy I got my first offer and hopefully more will come.”
He said he wasn’t concerned about when the offers would start coming in. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound cornerback had confidence something would come his way, eventually.
“I know God is watching over me, and I just think that if I keep doing what I’m doing, everything will take care of itself,” Irvin said .
Charlotte breaks new ground itself with its first ever football season starting this year. The 49ers will join Conference USA beginning next season and will play a full C-USA schedule in 2015.
The Charlotte recruiter for the Central Florida region is linebackers coach Drew Dayton, who has offered several players in the Orlando area this spring.
“He just told me he likes the way I play,” Irvin said, “and he said he wants to get me up there for a visit and wanted to offer me a scholarship to come there.
“He was telling me about how they’re building a new stadium and that they’ve been recruiting a lot of juco players for the first season, but this year they are looking at juco and high school players for the new program and how it would be good if I was a part of it.”
Foundation has high hopes this season on a team that will be led by Denzel Irvin, his brother Darius Irvin, a rising junior running back, and rising senior quarterback Alec Thompson.
“It’s a great school. When we first got there, the football team welcomed me and my brother in and we’ve just been able to provide the team with some leadership,” Irvin said. “It’s been a good experience.
“It’s definitely helped me a lot being there. They teach you to have a strong mentality and the mindset to work hard and finish strong and be better at life in general. At Foundation they teach something that most schools don’t teach and that’s to have the mentality to finish.”
As a junior, Denzel Irvin had 82 tackles with five sacks and two interceptions. He also had eight passes broken up and two tackles-for-loss.
“I’d say that I’m a very smart player and a physical player ... a ball-hawk,” Irvin said. “I am also a very coachable player and I’m a leader on the field.”
He said once he starts getting more scholarship offers, he figures it shouldn’t be difficult to decide where he will play college football.
“It will all up be up to where I fit in the best and how I feel at the school … whatever is most comfortable for me and my family,” Irvin said, “and it’s just wherever God has planned for me to go.”
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.