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Trent Irwin: Study of a character

Hart wide receiver gets attention for his talent, personality

Posted: December 13, 2013 10:48 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2013 10:48 p.m.
Hart junior wide receiver Trent Irwin has 1,384 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns this season. Hart junior wide receiver Trent Irwin has 1,384 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns this season.
Hart junior wide receiver Trent Irwin has 1,384 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns this season.
Irwin has at least 120 different sports jerseys. Irwin has at least 120 different sports jerseys.
Irwin has at least 120 different sports jerseys.

Before he even walked into his first high school class, the expectations for Trent Irwin were almost unfairly high.

That sort of thing never bothered or distracted the Hart High wide receiver though. Not much does.

“The spotlight’s been on for a little bit, but you’ve just got to forget about that stuff,” Irwin says. “The spotlight’s cool, but sometimes people can overestimate you. You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Irwin and the Indians will play today at 7:30 p.m. against Chaminade of West Hills in the CIF Southern California Division II Regional State Bowl Game. With a win, Hart could advance to its first state championship game in school history.

Only 20 high school football teams in all of California are still playing this weekend. In the Santa Clarita Valley, the attention is squarely on Hart.

Attention is not a stranger to Irwin. When he was 8, he appeared on a TV mini-series called “Sports Kids Moms and Dads,” which appeared on the Bravo Network in 2005.

His dad is an actor, so Irwin used to tag along on auditions and he ended up in a few commercials through the years.

But for the Hart junior, that was all a side note. Football was the main course.

“He really loves football,” says Trent’s dad, Craig Irwin. “As a 3-year-old he carried a football everywhere he went. And he did it almost up until now.”

All the exposure truly never factored in for Trent, who is considered a four-star college recruit on

People could tell Trent he was the worst player on the field or the best. It wouldn’t change the way he prepared or the effort he’d put out on Friday nights.

And it wouldn’t change anything about his reserved yet infectious personality.

“He works as hard as anyone I know,” says Hart quarterback Brady White. “And it pays off and it shows on the field and in the classroom.”

Every day at the beginning of practice, Trent runs a warm-up lap around the field by himself. His teammates think it’s odd, but then again that’s Trent.

“We make fun of him for it, but he’s dedicated. He’s the most dedicated football player I’ve ever seen in my life,” says Hart senior teammate Erik Stafford. “He genuinely loves the sport. If football was taken out of his life, he would turn into a little hermit, hide in his house, grow a little bushy beard and be afraid of the sun.”

Trent said his life has revolved around football for as long as he can remember. He started collecting jerseys of his favorite football players as soon as he was old enough to ask for birthday and Christmas gifts.

The jersey collection is up to around 120, Trent says. He wears a different one to school every day. Some of the jerseys are of players from the 1970s, some current. Some are worn down and too small for him now. Some are brand new.

People around school started noticing a pattern with Trent. He wore shorts with long stockings and a sports jersey.

It was such a distinct and consistent style, a few friends went as far as dressing up as Trent Irwin for Halloween.

“It’s the Trent look,” White said.

But while Trent was becoming an unintentional icon among his friends, he was going about his business in impressive fashion on Friday nights.

He’s nearing the end of a third very strong varsity season in a row, which followed a highly-publicized youth football career that earned him newspaper articles and shout outs on major recruiting websites.

All eyes were on him when he became came to Hart and became the school’s first freshman varsity regular-season starter under head coach Mike Herrington, who is now in his 25th year at the helm.

When the decision was made to start Trent as a freshman, Herrington said there were parents of juniors and seniors who thought Irwin was stealing play time.

“I hear a little grumbling here and there but we didn’t care as coaches,” Herrington says. “We were putting the best product on the field.”

And the standout wide receiver backed it up with 1,053 yards and eight touchdowns receiving (both team highs) that season. That was followed with 785 yards and another eight scores as a sophomore and 1,384 and 19 touchdowns so far this year in what has been his most productive season.

Trent has football scholarship offers from the University of California, Berkeley and Colorado State so far. He’s also talking to a bunch of other schools.

The offers probably continue to roll in. He knows that. That’s not his primary concern right now.

“I just like playing with my friends. It’s a game. I like going out there and competing every week,” Irwin says. “You always look forward to the game.”

At least one more time, today, he’ll get to wear his favorite jersey of them all – Hart’s No. 4.


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