Bruce Irvin, better known to Mountaineer football fans simply as "Bruuuce," greeted a gaggle of Kanawha Valley fans at Collectibles, Etc., over the weekend.
A line of fans decked out in old gold and blue snaked through the small store and down the sidewalk at the store's Nitro Marketplace location Saturday afternoon.
Irvin's defensive prowess and hard hits have earned him a special place in the hearts of the Mountaineer faithful over the last several years. His first name, intoned low with the vowel drawn out, has become a cheer as common as "Let's Go Mountaineers."
Next month, however, he'll kiss his alma mater goodbye as he heads into the NFL draft with prospects as good as any WVU alumnus in recent memory.
"I rank him with Darryl Talley," said one fan, Ronnie Gurnee, who turned out to meet Irvin Saturday afternoon with a friend.
Talley was a linebacker for WVU from 1979 to 1982. He went to the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 1983 draft and played there for 12 seasons.
Irvin is expected to go in the second round of the draft as well, and he's been meeting with teams all over the country after performing exceptionally well at his NFL pro day appearance.
He doesn't know where he'll end up or even what position he'll be playing, but he said he feels good about the draft.
"I'm real confident," he said before flashing a smile that lights up his usually serious expression.