The Detroit News continues its countdown of the top 15 Blue Chip recruits for 2017 with Deron Irving-Bey of Flint Southwestern at No. 10.
Deron Irving-Bey stepped on the field at Flint Southwestern as a raw freshman, playing tight end at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds while spending no time in the weight room.
Irving-Bey got serious in the sport his last two years, putting hours of hard work in the weight room and the field to build himself up into one of the elite two-way lineman in the state.
Irving-Bey’s reward was 21 offers heading into his senior year as a four-star defensive end, thanks to a junior year in which he put himself into the spotlight after being an impact player with 25 tackles for lost yardage.
Irving-Bey continued his strong play this past fall, earning a spot on The Detroit News Dream Team for getting in on 77 tackles, including 15 sacks while forcing four fumbles. He committed to Michigan in December and is No. 10 on The Detroit News Blue Chip list.
“I didn’t start lifting weights until last year,” said Irving-Bey, who is now 6-5 and 270 pounds. “I can bench more than 300 pounds now, gotten a lot stronger. I’ve gotten a lot bigger, stronger and I’ve improved with my size, speed and technique.”
Irving-Bey decided to pick Michigan over Michigan State, Maryland and Tennessee. He has a 3.2 grade-point average and plans to be a physical therapist and coach … after what he hopes is a long, successful NFL career.
“Michigan just felt like home, a great place to be for the next four or five years,” Irving-Bey said “It’s a great program, great education and I know it will take me to the next level.
“I had the choice to go offensive line or defensive line, but I’ve always loved playing defense, think defensive end is the most fun position to play. It’s fun to go out and hit somebody as hard as you can. I feel my strength was just going after the ball, getting to it very quickly too."
Irving-Bey was also an outstanding offensive tackle, a reason Maryland recruited him.
So, what was Irving-Bey’s most memorable moment?
“I think it probably was my last game, just realizing that it was my last high school football game, playing with guys I grew up with and it was really intense,” Irving-Bey said. “It was like, ‘Wow, are you really here?' I mean, I had been on varsity since my freshman year and it was hard to believe it was coming to an end.”
Irving-Bey was in superb condition and he had to be since he played both sides of the ball.
Irving-Bey had the opportunity to share his high school football experience with his cousin, Marcus Matiere-Bey, who played linebacker and running back for Southwestern. Irving-Bey said his cousin will play at the next level, possibly at Grand Valley, Ferris State or Howard.
Southwestern coach Chane Clingman feels Irving-Bey made great strides his junior year and continued to improve as a senior year.
“I just think his overall understanding of how to play the position was big for him this year,” Clingman said. “His get-off improved where he was a lot quicker coming off the ball.
“He was able to play inside and outside, so whether it would be a six technique or he’s in a three technique at the D tackle he’s able to still get pressure to the quarterback. He played both sides of the ball every snap. Deron never left the field, so his endurance, that was big for him to get in that type of shape.”
It sounds like Irving-Bey's work ethic will get him on the field at the Big House, definitely something Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will be thrilled to see in a freshman trying to prove his worth.
DETROIT NEWS BLUE CHIP LIST COUNTDOWN
No. 10: Deron Irving-Bey, DE, Flint Southwestern (Michigan)