The Idaho Press is counting down the 25 most important players to the 2021 Boise State football team. Next up is No. 23: Defensive end Shane Irwin.
Nobody on the Boise State football team may have benefited more from the pandemic-altered 2020 season than defensive end Shane Irwin.
The Long Beach City College transfer wasn’t even sure how much he’d play in his debut season with the Broncos, but was thrust into a key role due to injuries — and he made the most of it.
Irwin led the team with six sacks and was second with seven tackles-for-loss. He finished sixth on the team with 30 tackles and added a forced fumble and was named to the All-Mountain West Second Team.
And the most exciting part for Irwin and the Broncos is that due to the NCAA rule not counting the eligibility in 2020, the year basically counted as a redshirt. He still has two years left.
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Irwin redshirted at San Diego State in 2017 before spending the 2018 and 2019 seasons at Long Beach City College. He had offers from UNLV, New Mexico, San Jose State and UTEP among others before committing to the Broncos.
He saw more playing time than expected last fall due to a season-ending injury to Demitri Washington, but he was ready for it. He had a sack in his Boise State debut against Utah State in the season opener and had multiple sacks in back-to-back games against Colorado State and Hawaii.
Washington is expected to be back for the season opener against UCF, but the Broncos will need Irwin to again be a major contributor — and he showed no reasons to believe he won’t be.
Boise State’s defensive line could be one of the best in the conference in 2021 — and Irwin should be one of the reasons why.