By Jenelyn Russo
Photo credit: Sarah Reid
Julius Irvin was determined to get onto the football gridiron at a young age, even if he didn't quite have his mom's buy-in at the start.
"I started when I was around the age of seven," says Irvin. "My dad enrolled me in Pop Warner (football) without my mom knowing, so it was kind of behind the back. I fell in love with it, and ever since then, I just kept playing and progressing."
No doubt Irvin's mom is proud of her son, as the Servite High School senior has evolved into a highly recruited safety. Through five games this season, Servite is 5-0 and Irvin has been making his mark on the defensive side of the ball with 19 tackles, four interceptions (a team and Trinity League high) and one punt return for a touchdown. At the core of it all, Irvin just loves to compete.
"I'm a real competitive guy, so I have competitive nature," says Irvin.
As a senior captain for the Friars, Irvin focuses on passing his knowledge and experience down to the younger players.
"My leadership style is kind of different," says Irvin. "I'm not going to yell at you. I treat everyone the same. I try to make them the best they can be, improve their skills day in and day out."
Servite varsity football head coach, Scott Meyer, knows he has both a special player and person in Irvin.
"Julius has been outstanding for us this year," says Meyer. "He is a big time athlete and has made several big plays for us. He leads by example and is a great role model for our younger players to look up to. Off the field, he is a great young man who is respected by all."
Each spring, Irvin can be found running varsity track for the Friars, where he runs the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter races, as well as the 4×100 meter and 4×400 meter relay events. Cross training with track helps the 18-year-old keep up his "top end" speed, as well as his strength.
But football is where his passion lies, and Irvin knows that the game has taught him plenty of life lessons.
"It's taught me to be responsible and accountable for my actions," says Irvin. "It's taught me also to be a leader and to lead others in a respectable way."
The Anaheim resident has several offers on the table to play Division I college football, which is his goal, along with studying business marketing.
Irvin remains humbled and thankful for the opportunities that God has given him, and he is continually inspired by his father.
"My father is my number one role model," says Irvin. "He teaches me a lot, how to be a man...and learning from him has just been an honor. It's really important to me."