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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Michael Irons, CB, Tarleton State

Michael Irons is a shutdown corner at Tarleton State University and recent graduate transfer from Cornell University. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
Michael Irons is a shutdown corner at Tarleton State University and recent graduate transfer from Cornell University. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Michael Irons
  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 184
  • Position: CB
  • College: Tarleton State University
  • Twitter: michaelirons10

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?

My experience at Cornell was pretty unique! Although school could be tough at times, my teammates helped me create lifelong memories.

My major was in the Hotel School of Administration, and I only participated in the IM league for basketball.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

That I work hard to perfect my craft and that I am reliable. I also think that my ability to learn something and apply it quickly is another. I try to make my coach’s job easier by being teachable. 

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?

I see my role as the CB1. I love to compete and I welcome the challenge of guarding the opposing team’s best WR.  I can play in the slot too and have been wanting to play more nickel for sometime now. A big nickel who can move with smaller guys and get in the run game are very valuable in today’s game. I know I’m capable of that. My last position would be free safety. I played safety in high school so I do have some experience there. I would be like Darnell savage I back there. A rangy safety with speed. 

Man to man is most definitely my best scheme. Like I said, I love to shutout the opposing #1 WR. I can also use my understanding of route concepts and play cover 2 and 3. 

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

Jakob Herres from VMI. His catch range and catching ability was special.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

Phazione McClurge. I have never witnessed someone work so hard, and I don’t think I’ve faced a better WR than him. He definitely gave me one of the hardest challenges.

Also, my teammate Thomas Glover is really good! It was his first year at WR this past season, and he put up big numbers. He’s real shifty and can naturally create separation in his routes. He definitely is one of my tougher challenges as well. 

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

For a little while, I did not have both parents in my life. I had a single mother who was trying to raise three kids, so we really did not have the most to work with, but ultimately, it has made me grateful for everything. This gratefulness helped me understand that I can not take this sport for granted. My sophomore year in college I was really underperforming and it really upset me. I was so happy when COVID came because it was a time where I had nothing to do, but work my craft. I think the tape shows the leap I made. That time helped me love every aspect of the game and understand that it could all be over so fast, so why not go all in every chance I get.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?

Most definitely basketball. In high school, I thought I was going to the NBA. After my football practices, I would get a ride to the gym to go put up shots. I also would put up shots before our summer workouts. 

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?

Graduating from an Ivy League school. Not too many get that opportunity.

I also was the 2x District MVP in basketball my junior and senior year in high school.Additionally, I was a part of a relay team that won state in the 4×1 and 4×2 my senior year in high school. Lastly, I got 2nd Team All-Ivy this past year which was a testament to my hard work. Those were some really exciting moments. 

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

It was against Harvard in 2021. We had a corner blitz dialed up right before we were going into halftime. I remember the WR splits were kind of cut in which made my job even easier. The QB dropped back and looked like a sitting duck and I just kept thinking I’m going to blow him up. He actually ended up moving at the last minute, but I still got the sack. It was my first sack ever, so that was pretty cool. Now I can see how people miss sacks though. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?

My favorite athlete is Lebron James. Not only a great athlete, but to create a school and give back to the community in the most meaningful way is impressive.

I would love to give back to my community in a meaningful way he has by helping homeless people get back on their feet. I would have mini houses or apartments where they could pay cheaper rent for a certain amount of time, and help them get jobs so that they can get some stability

I model my game after Jalen Ramsey. Just his demeanor and the confidence/swag he carries himself with is something every corner needs. He is aggressive in the run game too and tackling is something I pride myself in. 

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?

My favorite artist is Juice Wrld. Before games, I listen to Juice, Gunna, Uzi, and G Herbo mostly.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Oreos or lil Debbie snacks. My friends can tell you how much I love my snacks.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?

Hunter x Hunter. The lessons that show teaches you are very valuable and applicable to my sport.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?

In my spare time, I’m on YouTube watching all the top corners. I genuinely find joy in learning from the best and trying to perfect my craft. If I’m not doing that, then I’m probably playing basketball, or out meditating. I don’t have any secret talents.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?

I have been playing this sport my whole life. I can’t see life without it. It has given me my lifelong friends and opened doors that would have never been possible!  Also, there is nothing like game day where I get to showcase everything I worked on! 

The thing that motivates me the most is my desire to become the best cornerback ever. I at least need to be in that GOAT debate. My family and close friends also motivate me just as much. I know I can change their lives if I do what I’m supposed to. 

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