The Irons' Family...

Angry Pope

All Raider
Feb 2, 2006
Reaction score
Irons brothers give Auburn a leg up

Updated 8/22/2006 3:02 AM ET
By Kelly Whiteside

There are times when Auburn's practice field becomes like David and Kenny Irons' childhood backyard. There are collisions, finger-pointing and, of course, trash talking.

David, a quicksilver cornerback, will chirp to his younger brother, Kenny — a Heisman Trophy contender at tailback — "They don't want you to run this way because they know I'm going to knock you out."

Kenny's retort?

"David, they just don't want me to run you over and make you hurt."

Last week in practice after David muffed a play and Kenny laughed, David struck back. On the next play, a carry for Kenny, David left his receiver, ran clear across the field and clocked Kenny as only an older brother can.

"They've made each other better over the years because they're so dang competitive," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville says. "Each one of them wants to be perfect in everything they do. It's fun to watch."

The Irons brothers, from Dacula, Ga., have the talent to be first-team All-Americans and make history. They could become the first brothers from the same team to earn first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors in the same season. They could also become the first brothers selected in the first round of the same NFL draft.

Ask them how they're doing and the response will be, "I'm doing awesome." Engaging and gregarious, it's as if they've never had a bad day, though both have had plenty.

Obstacles on road to Auburn

David, who's a year older than Kenny, committed to Auburn as a high school junior, signed in 2001 but failed twice to qualify academically — he was diagnosed with a learning disability while in grade school. He played two seasons at Butler Community College in Kansas. His first year he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during preseason practice.

During his first year at Auburn in 2004, he tore the same ligament during preseason practice. Finally healthy for 2005, David started 11 games. He will play his final season after successfully petitioning the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility. He graduated this month with a degree in sociology and is taking classes for a second degree.

"I compare him a lot to Carlos Rogers (a first-round NFL pick in 2005)," Tuberville says of his 5-11, 180-pound cornerback. "Carlos didn't have the quickness that David's got, though. David's a pretty big defensive back. He's not one of those 5-7, 5-8 guys, but he can do some of the things the smaller guys can do. The sky is the limit for him if he can hold up physically, which he can. The doctors tell us his knees are stronger than they were in junior high."

Wanting to escape the shadow of his older brother, Kenny signed with South Carolina in 2002. He played in nine games as a freshman and was expecting to be the featured back as a sophomore before coach Lou Holtz signed local hotshot Demetrius Summers, who got the starting job.

Depressed and buried on the depth chart in 2003, Kenny transferred and sat out 2004. Kenny, who's 5-11, 200 pounds, started nine games last year and helped Tigers fans forget Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and Ronnie Brown.

Kenny averaged 21.3 carries and earned unanimous All-SEC honors, when he ran for 1,293 yards and 13 touchdowns. This is his final year of eligibility, and he's scheduled to graduate in December.

"We've had Rudi (Johnson) and Ronnie and Carnell and coached Deuce McAllister (at Mississippi), and I would rank Kenny up there with those guys," Tuberville says.

Even though Williams was fast, there were plenty of times when he was caught from behind, Tuberville says.

"We weren't used to having one play and a score, and Kenny did that against Arkansas, LSU and Georgia. He's got tremendous skill inside and tremendous skills outside in the open field."

Pop Warner teamwork
When the Irons brothers first started playing Pop Warner football in Cherry Hill, N.J., David was always the starter, always the star, while Kenny was his blocking back. That changed when they joined the Voorhees (N.J.) Vikings, a 75-pounds-and-under team, and coach Andre Taliaferro let Kenny play tailback for the first time.

With the Irons boys and Taliaferro's son, Adam, who later played for Penn State, the Vikings didn't lose a game in three seasons. David Irons Sr. recalls the closest a team came to beating the Vikings was a 42-14 loss.

When the family moved to Georgia in the mid-1990s for David Sr.'s job with UPS, the families remained close and David Sr. and Andre are still best friends.

When Adam was injured during his freshman season at Penn State in 2000 and told he would never walk again, David Jr. wore a t-shirt Adam had left at their house under his high school jersey.

Adam, who has made a remarkable recovery and is a second-year law student at Rutgers, plans to visit the Irons brothers next month for their Sept. 16 game against Louisiana State.

David Sr. has prepared his sons for this moment ever since those pee wee football days. He was a standout running back at North Carolina A&T.

Two of David Sr.'s uncles, Gerald Irons and Leroy Jackson, played in the NFL, and two cousins play in the NFL today, Grant Irons with the Oakland Raiders and Paul Irons with the Cleveland Browns.

Father knows best

David Sr. introduced his sons to NFL drills, with makeshift equipment, at a young age.

For one backyard drill, the boys had to stand in a hula hoop, turn and catch a ball 15 consecutive times before being allowed in the house. If they dropped it, they had to start all over.

"The ball would be on its way when they turned and if you missed it, it would hit you in the nose, so it made your eyes focus quicker," says David Sr., who, runs a fitness center in Duluth, Ga.

"While other kids were sleeping, we were out practicing," David Jr. says about those days with their dad. "He would always have 13 balls in his trunk and we'd head to a field. When there wasn't a light at the field, he would use the car's headlights. We would say, 'Why are you making us do this? He always said he was making us into the two baddest kids ever and we would say, 'Yeah, whatever, you make us do all this work and we'll still be working at Winn-Dixie or whatever.' So, man, it paid off. He kept us focused and grounded. We're thankful for that. We love him for that."

The Irons brothers are also as fun-loving as they are focused. Ask them about each other and the Irons brothers become the Wayans brothers.

"He's not the prettiest guy in the world; he's not like his big brother," David says of Kenny.

David worries that if Kenny wins the Heisman, he might scare the viewers at home. "He's got a helmet on most times, so it's OK," David says. "I tell him when you take it off, put a towel on your head and stay away from the camera as much as possible. I also tell him, 'If the NFL is going for the unprettiest guy in the world, you'll go first round."

Kenny counters with some pointed comments about David's "unibrow," and the Irons brothers are off and running yet
This thread has been closed due to inactivity. You can create a new thread to discuss this topic.