UM, MSU earn high marks from 4-star Deron Irving-Bey

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Deron Irving-Bey works during a Flint Southwestern practice.

Flint – Deron Irving-Bey stepped on the school grounds at Flint Southwestern Academy three years ago at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, barely able to bench press 185 pounds.

Now, Irving-Bey stands 6-4 1/2 and weighs 280 pounds and has developed into one of the premier two-way linemen in the state. He can now bench press more than 300 pounds, and can pumping up 225 pounds 12 times.

Last year, Irving-Bey opened up some eyes with his performance on the field, getting in on 77 tackles, including 25 for lost yardage from his defensive end spot. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio gave him a scholarship offer when he took a visit to East Lansing in March, and Michigan followed the next month.

In fact, Irving-Bey has 21 offers and has narrowed his top five to Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, Maryland and Howard. Coaches from Ohio State and Notre Dame have traveled to Flint to watch him work out.

“You can’t teach 6-5, 280, and that helps,” Southwestern coach Chane Clingman said Tuesday prior to Irving-Bey taking the field for the team’s second practice of the season. “He’s a kid who came in at 190 pounds and he’s grown into his body. He works hard in the classroom. He’s a kid who shows up to the weight room every day and works hard. He has great feet for a guy his size, is a joy to be around and we want the best for him.”

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Irving-Bey – rated a four-star prospect and the No. 1 defensive end in Michigan by Scout.com – is a busy young man, having a summer job with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, to go along with his regular job at Little Caesars.

Despite the Little Caesars job, Irving-Bey says he dropped pizza from his diet in July to prepare for the season.

Irving-Bey, who plans to major in nursing, says he will announce his college choice on Dec. 1, alongside his cousin, Marcus Matiere-Bey, who is a 5-10, 225-pound linebacker / running back who rushed for 1,030 yards last season.

Deron Irving-Bey

Clingman pointed out after Irving-Bey was invited to attend Michigan’s BBQ at the Big House last week, coaches from Michigan State and Maryland soon called in an effort to have him make visits to their schools, as well.

“Maryland pretty much calls up every day, feeling he could be playing left tackle in the NFL one day,” said Clingman. “We went out east this summer and Maryland gutted out Cole Field House and turned it into an indoor facility with a 27,000-square foot weight room.”

Maryland has Irving-Bey’s attention with the new facility, which was built in part with a $25 million donation by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, a Maryland special teams captain more than 20 years ago.

Michigan and Michigan State are high on Irving-Bey's list, too.

“I’ve taken a few trips to Michigan and Michigan State, also took a trip with my coach and a couple of other players for a week-long tour out to the East Coast last month, went to places like Maryland, Towson and Howard,” said Irving-Bey. “I went to Michigan’s BBQ and had a great time. I talked to Coach Harbaugh, Coach (defensive line coach Greg) Mattison and some other coaches.

“Coach Harbaugh is a real cool coach. Instead of being serious all the time, he’s more laid back and more of a person I could talk with. He talked about how he’d love to coach me in the future if I came to Michigan. I didn’t feel pressured or anything, just had fun.

“It’s a great school, just like Michigan State. I was surprised how much I liked (Michigan), really was blown away about the campus and facility, the same way I was at Michigan State.”

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Clingman is not surprised by the attention Irving-Bey is receiving despite the team’s 1-8 showing last season.

“He’s pretty much dominated every camp he’s been at,” said Clingman. “He was one of the MVPs at the Adidas Camp in Chicago, was also the best of the best at the Midwest Elite Camp at Wixom and he was MVP at the Linemen Camp in Brighton.”

Still, Irving-Bey said he wants to feel what it’s like to compete in the state playoffs before moving on to college.

“Every day for me is like a grind and football is just like my getaway,” Irving-Bey said. “When I’m here all my problems go away. It’s fun being here with my brothers. It’s my last year and I want to become closer to my team, help my team make the playoffs.”

It’s going to be a busy fall for Irving-Bey with a trip to Tennessee planned Oct. 15, when the Volunteers host defending national champion Alabama.