Trieu: UM-MSU battle brewing for Deron Irving-Bey

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Deron Irving-Bey

The rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State has caused its share of “house divided” situations in the state when couples differ on which in-state school to support. Not often do those houses have a child with scholarship opportunities to play for either school, but such is the case with Flint Southwestern’s Deron Irving-Bey, a junior defensive end who was offered by Michigan State last month and by Michigan last week.

“My mom, she's a diehard Michigan fan and my dad, he's a State fan," Irving-Bey said.

Michigan offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Tim Drevno stopped at Southwestern last week. By the end of that day, the 6-foot-5, 272-pound Irving-Bey had added an offer from the Wolverines. Other than Michigan and Michigan State, Irving-Bey has additional offers from Minnesota, Iowa State and more.

While he says he does not have any favorites or his list of schools ranked out, a Wolverine-Spartan battle is brewing, and he is simply happy to have the opportunities.

“When (Drevno) first told me (about the offer) I was really excited because it was kind of out of nowhere,” said Irving-Bey. “I didn’t expect it.  When I went back to class I sat there silent.  Tears of joy just came out of nowhere.  I never saw myself in this situation right here getting offers.  This is a true blessing.”

After recording 24 tackles for loss as a junior, many schools have been recruiting Irving-Bey on the defensive line. He has won MVP or impressed at several offseason camps on that side of the ball. However, there are other programs that like him as an offensive lineman.

Southwestern head coach Chane Clingman says Irving-Bey likes defense, but is willing to play wherever he is needed, which included several positions throughout a varsity career that began as a freshman.

"Deron actually will be a four-year varsity player, so we're just kind of seeing some things that we always believed come to life,” said Clingman.  “We always believed Deron would blow up in his junior year because he's got great size at 6-5.  He's filling out too.  He weighs 270 now, (has) long arms and he's an explosive player.”

Irving-Bey has visited Michigan State several times. He was unable to attend Saturday’s spring game, but will look to return to East Lansing in the future and will try to camp at Michigan in June.

From there, he hopes to come to a decision before his senior season begins. His major, either nursing or athletic training, will be a key part in that decision.

Ohio State, Notre Dame and other programs are coming in, and he is open to anyone willing to recruit him. But this one still shapes up to be a good old fashioned in-state battle with family being a key part of the final decision – even if mom and dad do differ in their allegiances.

"Deron is from Flint and he's close to his family,” Clingman explained.  “I think he wants a quality education, a coaching staff that shows that they have his best interests, and I think he wants his family to be able to see him play – whether that's going to a real game or being able to watch him on TV. I know those are some of the things that he's expressed to me. At the end of the day he just loves football and wants to play, so I'm sure he'll be happy wherever he decides to go.  He wants get his degree and receive a quality education."

Michigan in top five for No. 7 guard

Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor’s Darnell Ewell, a four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 7 guard, reported to Scout’s Michael Clark on Sunday that Michigan is in his top five along with Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

Ewell (6-3, 285 pounds) plans to make a decision before the start of his senior season.

“Michigan is rising,” he said. “I’m pretty cool with the cold weather, I’ve thought about that.”

Ewell says the most important considerations in his top five schools are education, meal plan, what happens if he’s injured, and the opportunity for playing time as a freshman.

Five-star athlete to visit

Devon Hunter, an athlete from Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River and the nation’s No. 4 prospect on Scout, says he will visit Michigan along with Michigan State, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia and Florida State in the next few months.

He added that Clemson, Florida and Virginia Tech are three of his primary schools right now.

At 6-foot-2, 206 pounds, Hunter is listed as an athlete, but many schools are recruiting him as a safety.

He hopes to make a decision by Christmas time.

More information

Deron Irving-Bey profile

Darnell Ewell profile

Devon Hunter profile 

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.