Martell Irby reflects on winding career path after showing out in Alamo Bowl
Arizona scored 28 points off Oklahoma turnovers in Thursday night’s 38-24 Alamo Bowl win. The defense produced six takeaways — a bowl game record for the program and the most in any game since 2019 — to help fuel a come-from-behind win.
Martell Irby was key in that defensive performance. He finished the game with seven tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. And that landed him a postgame interview with ESPN, which brought out an emotional moment.
“I can’t thank Arizona enough. I can’t thank my brothers enough,” Irby said. “I couldn’t have scripted this any better.”
— no context college football (@nocontextcfb) December 29, 2023
Irby retired from college football in the summer of 2022. While preparing for his fifth season as a part of UCLA’s football program, Irby was involved in a car accident that caused him to miss the spring session. He left football and, later that year, approached Arizona about trying to restart his career.
Irby was given a spot, but he had to begin as a walk-on.
Ahead of the 2023 season, he earned a scholarship. This fall, Irby played in 12 games and produced 33 tackles with three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, an interception, and four passes defended.
The win for Arizona was its 10th of the year and its first bowl victory since 2015.