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Newcomer Irons takes control of Iowa Central’s offense

EKU transfer set to start Saturday night

Photo courtesy Paul DeCoursey/Iowa Central

There may be no better player to grade the level of talent on the current Iowa Central football team than quarterback DJ Irons.

Irons, a transfer from Eastern Kentucky University, played high school football at national power Grayson in Georgia.

“Everybody is trying to get out of the grind of junior college football,” Irons said. “I really feel like this is a level up from EKU, and that’s not meant as any disrespect to EKU.”

As a senior, Irons was named the Georgia offensive player of the year for his classification. He finished with 912 yards passing, 15 total touchdowns and no interceptions on 91 passes, eventually signing to play for the Colonels of the Ohio Valley Conference and Football Championship Subdivision.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pounder took a redshirt last season, which helped prepare him for his arrival on campus at Iowa Central this past January.

“I wanted to play (at EKU), but what helped me realize how games are supposed to be played at this level was going through practices,” Irons said. “The game really started to slow down for me there.

“It’s been nice getting out on the field and getting in reps with my teammates.”

Last year, three Tritons saw action at quarterback, helping the team win six consecutive games to end the year and finish at 8-4. That included a victory in the Graphic Edge Bowl in Cedar Falls.

Blake Dever, a transfer from Arkansas State who is battling for the starting job at North Alabama, led the team with 1,893 yards passing and 17 touchdowns. Justin Blake had 944 yards passing, 576 yards rushing and 17 combined touchdowns, with Cade Dodd seeing action in four games.

Jesse Montalto, Iowa Central’s head coach, calls Irons “as good a kid as I’ve had.”

“We’ve had quarterbacks compete in NFL camps and be named All-American at this level,” he said. “DJ is as good as any of them.”

Irons will have plenty of valuable skill position players to work with this fall including returning running back Jatoviay Hill and top wide receiver Rashad Witty.

“DJ is my guy,” said Witty, who had 57 catches for 676 yards and six touchdowns last fall. “That is the energy right there.”

By arriving early to school, Irons has been able to form quick bonds with many of his teammates.

“The relationships have been great,” Irons said. “We can talk football and we just have that connection.

“I’m excited. I haven’t played in over a year, so getting back to the game I love is what I want.”

The Tritons, ranked 14th in the NJCAA preseason poll, open the year Saturday at No. 10 Butler. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.