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July 31, 2013

Westminster Chr: Sedrick Irvin leading Warriors

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Westminster Christian is no stranger to playoffs - but not for football.

For years, the Warriors, under the guidance of legendary baseball coach Rich Hoffman - were dominant in the nation's pastime - stockpiling talent second to none.

Now the football program appears to be ready to burst on the 3A scene in 2013.

Under former Miami Southridge RB Sedrick Irvin as head coach, watch out for this team - and maybe all the way to Orlando.

Irvin has a terrific football pedigree and is a top notch coach. Westminster has incredible talent and they are lucky to play for such a terrific coach.

Irvin was a USA Today All-American in 1995 and went on to play football for Michigan State coached by Nick Saban. He played three years there - having 1,000 yard rushing seasons in each season. He was picked by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL Draft.

Irvin spend two years in the NFL, and then went on to spend two years at Alabama as a football intern under Saban. During Mark Ingram's Heisman ceremony, Ingram thanked Irvin for all his help throughout his career. Irvin spent a year at Memphis as their running backs coach as well.

Now, Irvin leads a Westminster squad that has extremely talented young players. His team came up to Tampa for the annual USF Sling-and-Shoot 7-on-7 tournament and they walked away as champions.

"I think winning that and the competition - with the Armwoods and the Plants and all those big name schools gives us confidence going into the season," Irvin told FlaVarsity.com. "It's something to build on - another thing we accomplished in the offseason as far as like the conclusion of summer workouts."

Westminster was 11-1 during the duration of the tournament. The one loss came after the Westminster back-up quarterback entered the game and threw an interception.

The talented juniors

One of the talented 2015 athletes on the Wesminster squad was Devonaire Clarington - who was the Sling and Shoot MVP - named by Runningthebulls.com. Clarington had three game winning, last second touchdown or extra point catches - most notably in the last seconds of the championship game.

"You can't teach 6-6," Irvin said about Clarington. "So with that he already has an advantage, but he's an athletic 6-6. He can jump, he can run routes like a smaller receiver, he has great eye-hand coordination, soft hands, and he just proves it on those three clutch catches."

"All he did was jump as high as he can - caught it with his hands at the ball's highest point and made a big time catch. He also ran other routes though - he didn't just run the go routes. Deep out routes, comebacks, curls, slants - so you can see that he can run all types of routes with being that big."

Irvin speaks very highly of Clarington - comparing him to an NFL receiver who had a great career.

"Clarington for me can be Plaxico Burress. Everybody wants to put him at tight end because he's 6-foot-6 225-pounds but I played with Plaxico Burress. I think right now - in eleventh grade - he's probably more athletic than Plaxico was when he was in eleventh grade."

Wesminster also has two other 2015 prospects with big-time division one offers, and one 2016 prospect who just picked up a USF offer - which was his first. Coach Irvin broke down those three prospects - and compared them to other great players at their respective positions.

Tim Irvin

"I always compare Tim to Erik Berry. Erik Berry in high school was a quarterback on the offensive end and was a corner or safety on the defensive end. So basically he was just a heck of an athlete in high school and did his thing in college. So Tim - to me - is one of the best athletes in the country. I think he'll be Erik Berry in college.

Tony Gaiter

"Gaiter can be Wes Welker in the slot, but I look at him as David Palmer at Alabama. He [Palmer] was a slot guy - he played corner too. Gaiter played quarterback for us last year - he can play running back, slot, corner, he can also return punts. That's kind of like what David Palmer was back at Alabama in the early-mid nineties.

Jordan Cronkrite "Who can Jordan be? Jordan's just one of those guys who can do it all. He started off at linebacker and running back - now he's at safety. He can also play some receiver - he can do it all.

The Wesminster quarterback is Hunter Boyett who is an under-the-radar prospect in terms of offers, but has great talent.

"You look at that Sling and Shoot - this guy goes 12-0," Irvin said about his signal caller. "We went to that camp and we beat a team with a quarterback that was committed to USF. We beat the top quarterback in Georgia. I'm not knocking on these other quarterbacks, but I mean - do the math. This guy had to make every throw we had to make -we never got a four second sack call. We drove the ball at will and it was because of him making the right reads and the right throws. I was at Alabama and this guy's arm is a lot stronger than (Greg) McElroy's. And McElroy won a national championship."

"He has the weapons around him, but you can have the weapons - you still need to get these guys the ball. Clarington can go deep every time, but you have to have a guy to get him the ball. Clarington was 6-foot-6 last year too, but he only caught twelve or thirteen passes. I really like our quarterback and I think we got a good chance with him."

Westminster is a private Christian school - but should is a top notch program with high expectations.

"For us, we know what we have. We consider ourselves a small army. We only have 25 kids, but we train to outlast a team that has 50 players. We're going to out-coach you, out-discipline you, play faster than you, and I always tell my kids - at the end of the day have fun and enjoy what you do."

"Our expectations are to take it one game at a time and at the end of the rainbow - we hope to end up in Orlando."



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