Corvey Irvin was drafted 92 spots behind Matthew Stafford.
And I’m not sure Stafford, even with $41.7 million guaranteed, could be any happier or prouder than Irvin.
While Stafford had been hailed as a future No. 1 NFL draft pick ever since high school — and you’ve got to hand it to Mel Kiper Jr. for making that prediction when Stafford was still at Highland Park High in Dallas — Irvin came from obscurity to be a third-round pick.
He wasn’t recruited by any major colleges out of high school. (”I was an OK high school player,” he maintains.) He transferred to Georgia after two years at Georgia Military College but didn’t start any games his first year in Athens. And he probably wouldn’t have started any in his second and final season, either, if not for his friend and fellow defensive tackle Jeff Owens blowing out a knee in the season opener.
That thrust Irvin into the Bulldogs’ starting lineup, and next thing you know, he’s at the Carolina Panthers’ rookie camp, a third-round draft choice.
“It opened an opportunity for me; it paved my way through,” Irvin told me on the phone, referring to Owens’ injury. “I hated he got hurt, but everything happens for a reason.”
Irvin said one of the first people he talked to after being drafted was . . . Owens.
“He told me he was proud of me and told me hard work paid off for me and that I deserved it,” Irvin said. “He said, ‘Cherish every moment, and take nothing for granted. And be patient and humble.’”
The knee injury cost Owens what would have been his senior season and delayed his shot at the NFL. So he took a redshirt season and will return this fall to play as a fifth-year senior.
“He’s recovering well,” Irvin said of Owens. “He’ll probably be better than ever. And he’ll come out and have a wonderful season, and then he’ll get drafted, too.”
Meanwhile, Irvin starts an NFL career that came out of nowhere.
“It happened real fast; the NFL wasn’t really on my mind [last season],” he said. “It is kind of hard to believe.”
He passes the credit around, giving a big chunk of it to Georgia Military.
“Georgia Military taught me to be accountable, to have good character, to be loyal, to have time-management skills. Taught me how to be a man. Made me grow up and mature real quick.
“And when I went to Georgia, I took what I learned at GMC and applied it there.”
Now, Irvin looks forward to crossing paths with Stafford in the NFL.
“I hope he goes to Detroit and turns [the Lions] around and goes 16-0. Or 15-1, losing when they play us.”
Around Bulldog Nation: Things will be hopping this weekend at Foley Field, where the Dogs play the Gators in three sold-out baseball games. . . . Georgia enters the series tied with LSU for first place in the SEC, one game ahead of Florida. The Dogs are ranked as high as No. 6 nationally, the Gators as high as No. 17. The Dogs have lost four of their past five games — three in a row — after Wednesday’s defeat to Jacksonville State. The Gators have won their last three series in Athens, dating to 2003. . . . Stafford keeps getting asked at press conferences and on media conference calls: You prefer to be called Matthew or Matt? “Matthew, please,” he replies.