Stanford receiver and Hart alumnus Trent Irwin likens his approach to football to fishing.
“I really enjoy the minute details that it takes to sort of get something going in the right direction or get something to work perfectly … you have to throw certain bait out there to attract something,” Irwin said. “If that doesn’t work, you have to switch up the bait, switch up the presentation.”
Irwin is planning on switching up the presentation when it comes to a few details of his game in his senior campaign with the Cardinal. For starters, he’s working on his yards after catch numbers.
“You train your body to make a movement after the catch and it’s not as much thinking about it when you’re doing it as when you train your body every day to be able to make those moves on the fly,” he said.
Last season, on the whole, Irwin racked up 461 yards and two touchdowns on 43 receptions. His numbers are expected to rise this season with K.J. Costello at quarterback.
Costello will be the fourth quarterback Irwin has played with in his four years at Stanford. The Hart grad has established a strong connection with Costello, calling him a “frickin’ gunslinger.” Coach David Shaw sees good things coming from the pair, too.
“I think our desire to get quarterbacks over 60% completion is going to help him as well. He’s one of those — and you hate to say that — possession receiver is like a bad word, but he’s a phenomenal route runner, he’s got great hands,” Shaw said at Pac-12 Football Media Day in late July. “He can make tough catches. He’s so dependable in those tight situations and option routes and working outside.”
In the 2017-18 season, Stanford finished first in the Pac-12 North Division. Ahead of the 2018-19 season, the team is selected to finish in second place behind Washington.
In addition to Costello, the Cardinal return a host of talented players including leading rusher Bryce Love, who totaled 2,118 yards on 263 carries last season and leading receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who hauled in 48 passes for 781 yards.
“I think we’ve got a lot of talent,” Irwin said. “I think it’s going to be just about bringing the room together … I think this team is a real talented team in almost every position, which I think is pretty awesome, but … we’ve seen talented teams that do very well so it’s all about cohesion and having them all work together.”
Irwin makes his way back to Hart High School whenever he can. He was in attendance for last season’s heart-stopping football game against Golden Valley and a few girls soccer games, since his younger sister plays on the team.
“I love the program there. I love what they’re doing,” Irwin said of Indians football. “Hart is elite and got a good group of people, a good group of coaches you can really trust. I love that. And I mean, the atmosphere is something that helps kids really mature and become good people.”
Stanford’s football season starts on Aug. 31 when the Cardinal hosts San Diego State. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.