2017 Recruiting: Deron Irving-Bey

Submitted by Brian on July 6th, 2017 at 2:41 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S J'Marick Woods, S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, S Brad Hawkins, CB Ambry Thomas, CB Benjamin St-Juste, LB Drew Singleton, LB Jordan Anthony, LB Josh Ross, DE Kwity Paye, DE Luiji Vilain, DE Corey Malone-Hatcher.

Flint, MI – 6'5" 280


Scout 4*, #269 overall
#25 DE
Rivals 3*, NR overall
#18 SDE, #11 MI
ESPN 4*, #223 overall
#17 DT, #4 MI
24/7 4*, #187 overall
#6 SDE, #4 MI
Other Suitors MSU, Tenn, MD, Pitt
YMRMFSPA Chris Wormley
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace. Adam scouted him last fall.
Notes Twitter.


Single game scouting:

           Junior (there's no unified senior highlight reel):      

Deron Irving-Bey is the second in a series of fringe four star DL who have promise and problems. (Unfortunately, Corey Malone-Hatcher's problems ended his career before it could start.) Irving-Bey's promise is that he is a largehuge dude who's just scratching the surface of his potential. The problem is that he's just scratching the surface of his potential. This is partly because of Irving-Bey:

“The crazy thing is I didn’t take football serious until my junior season,” Irving-Bey said.

And partly because of his circumstances. Southwestern coach Chane Clingman:

“At Southwestern, we didn’t have the luxury of having all the coaches. I never had a D-line coach. So going to Michigan, Greg Mattison is one of the best. I’m excited what’s coming.”

Stuck on a 1-8 team, Irving-Bey remained a total unknown through the end of his junior season when he attended a series of winter camps and caught the eye of Miami (not that Miami). One MAC offer was all it took. MSU followed shortly after, as did a series of regional offers. Tennessee and Pitt—ie, the two out-of-state schools with the most in-state connections—jumped in. But Michigan and Greg Mattison would not be denied.

In Irving-Bey Michigan has won itself a project. Mattison's quick take on his official bio is unusually focused on the future:

"He plays with a very high motor and shows a lot of talent when he is playing; he shows flashes on tape, and that gets us excited. We see the potential, and he is like a sponge because he absorbs everything and wants to be as good as he can be. That really impressed me. He will probably improve every day he is here because of the level of football."

Irving-Bey is one of those frames on which college coaches hope to hang an All American. Sam Webb:

raw prospect with a ton of upside. He is a quick-twitch kid, and at 6-5, 266 that is extremely impressive.  That translates on the field as great get-off (think Maurice Hurst or Michael Dwumfour), and really good change of direction.  Then there are his super long arms.  A parent of one of Michigan’s commits indicated to me that Deron’s wingspan was measured and wound up being the longest in the Wolverines’ 2017 class. …has to hone his technique and needs time in the weight room. 

When Scout moved him from nowhere to inside their top 300, Allen Trieu cited Irving-Bey's "rare length and athleticism" and "great set of tools." His profile at that site has similar overtones, citing "technique and moves" as an area for improvement while praising his physical package:

great frame that continues to fill out… Long arms, naturally bends well and moves well. Gets off the ball quickly and plays with a good motor. Still developing technique and using his hands better.  … an attractive package of skills.

  • Athleticism
  • Quickness off Ball
  • Size

That's quite a set of strengths. ESPN was in the same boat:

Good height and bulk with big frame … good raw strength and very good first-step quickness.  …able to fire off on snap of the ball with pad level and power through contact and disrupt with penetration … too inconsistent at this stage with hand usage and pad level and can get pushed back and struggle to get off blocks … Flashes ability to convert speed-to-power and drive blockers back when he stays low, but aspect of arsenal he needs to better develop and utilize. Can get up-field with get-off, but looks to lack a plan and needs to better utilize weapons. …good raw tools to build off … may take some time.

Unfortunately the other two sites had scanty-at-best scouting. 24/7 did not have one of those "what team X is getting" posts even when a guy inside their top 200 committed; the only thing even resembling hard data came from Steve Lorenz, who does not have any influence on their rankings. He did catch Irving-Bey at the Army game, for what it's worth:

both quick and strong. His coaches loved him, and after every rep he'd immediately walk over to whichever one was free to get some feedback on how to get better. You can see why he's a high ceiling guy, as he can punch, rip but also out-quick tackles with a first step that caught Filiaga off guard in a second rep the two took against one another.

Meanwhile the only scouting at Rivals comes from a couple camps. Helmholdt singled him out as the most impressive player at MSU's elite camp ("impressive combination of size, athleticism and power and proved nearly unblockable") and highlighted him after a Chicago thing ("size and strength to handle the point of attack, he has an explosive first step that allows him to get into offensive linemen before they set, and he has a great feel for what rush moves to make in which situation"), and that was it.

I kind of expect that for fringe prospects in out of the way places like Rhode Island (see Kwity Paye), but for an Army All-American in Flint that's pretty pretty bad for half the crootin industry to not even bother with a scouting report.

Speaking of, Irving-Bey's Army game appearance provided a slight rankings bump on Scout and overall. Allen Trieu mentioned him positively a couple times, albeit in reserved terms: "nice day," "continues to play well," etc. For a guy like Irving-Bey merely looking like he belonged in the midst of a withering step up in competition level was a win. He either did this…       

…absolutely belongs.  DIB is really quick off the ball, shows good speed off the edge for his size and has made some plays.  There is room for improvement in his technique and he needs to get stronger at the point of attack, but the Fint Southwestern star won a bunch of 1-on-1 reps.  The only lineman that gave him significant trouble was five-star offensive line target Tedarrell Slaton Jr.

…or did not:

Irving-Bey has a lot of potential but struggled a bit against top talent in San Antonio for the U.S. Army Game.

That last take was from The Wolverine in a "Signing Day capsule" that had to go back 11 months to find the last piece of scouting Rivals had offered up on Irving-Bey. It's frustrating when the major outlier doesn't bother to explain itself, and Rivals is a pretty big outlier here: they gave Irving-Bey just three stars and ranked him outside of the top ten in-state.

Where Irving-Bey ends up depends on just how big he gets. When he first popped up on the scene he was a 250-pound WDE sort

…terrific as an edge rusher … The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Irving-Bey was unblockable until he met Boyd in the best of the best round. Irving-Bey used his speed and power to quickly dispose of offensive tackles, at times going virtually untouched to the bag.

…and now articles are listing him at 280. That's a big gain in a short amount of time but it doesn't seem to be much bad weight. When he committed the first thing Trieu mentioned was his "consistent effort" and motor, which is doubly impressive because Irving-Bey started both ways for his very bad team. Clingman:

“His off-season work ethic was tremendous,” Southwestern coach Chane Clingman said. “He’s a kid that just wanted a chance and he’s trying to be the best football player he can be. He made tremendous strides this off-season with his motor and the way he works in the weight room and he still has a lot of untapped potential.”

He'll have to go down and come back up; he seems to be a guy who wants to gravitate towards 290 or 300 pounds. He could easily end up a three-tech. With his twitchy first step, long arms, and lanky frame I prefer him at SDE, where he could be jumbo-sized and still retain some unusual pass rush ability. Jeter, Paea, and Hudson are all potential three-techs also in this class; only Jeter has a long term future that could involve SDE.

FWIW, a number of early evaluations talk about his potential as an offensive lineman, and Clingman said that Michigan "offered him on both sides of the ball." His considerable upside on defense and the sudden retirement of Malone-Hatcher should see him stay on the DL for the duration, especially because his lack of technical know-how means Michigan probably shouldn't jerk him around. If he does get buried there's another avenue for Irving-Bey to contribute. About half of his junior film above is Irving-Bey displaying a Cole-like ability to operate in space as a lineman.

Etc.: "FatGlizzy__" twitter handle is not only spectacular but implies the existence of two other Fat Glizzies?

Irving-Bey wins the prize for inducing the most absurd rationalization of the recruiting cycle. MSU's 24/7 site offered this up in an insidery article:

A source added that, "Irving-Bey's senior film wasn't that impressive and doesn't play with a high motor."

Spartan Tailgate was told Irving-Bey is not likely to end up at Michigan State unless they miss out on several other defensive linemen targets ahead of him.

Irving-Bey was a couple weeks away from Army Bowl practices when this was published; MSU's only DL addition during their late flailing period last year was Ohioan DeAri Todd, the composite #1411 player in the country.

Why Chris Wormley? Very similar frames and recruiting profiles, down to Rivals being the turd in the punchbowl. Wormley bulked up to 300 pounds over the course of his career and bounced between three- and five-tech, finally settling in as an SDE when Michigan's DT situation allowed him to focus on one spot. Wormley was a physical marvel in high school who drew some skepticism because of a lack of production; that skepticism turned out to be unwarranted. Irving-Bey is a similarly impressive physical package with some question marks.

The other recent comparable that makes some sense is Taco Charlton, who stuck at WDE at 270 but probably could have bulked up to play SDE if necessary. His long arms, power, recruiting rankings, frame, and relative rawness are all in DIB's range.

Guru Reliability: Moderate-plus. Mostly agreement except for the Rivals outlier, but scouting is relatively scanty and it's difficult to draw much information from a high school career playing on a bad team against mostly bad teams.

Variance: High. Admittedly a project. Escapes "very high" because he is close to physically ready. There's no chance he ends up scuffling because he can't get heavy enough.

Ceiling: Very high. Already near his playing weight and still drawing quick-twitch praise. The kind of guy you can roll a critical hit on and get a monster.

General Excitement Level: High-minus. Have to like Irving-Bey's shot at hitting his ceiling under Greg Mattison, who's been killing it on the defensive line since he returned to Michigan. Rivals skepticism came with no readily available justifications.

Projection: One of the most obvious redshirts in the class. Irving-Bey will spend a year powering up and then is almost certain to be a sparingly used third-string SDE or three-tech in year two. His first shot at real playing time will be in 2019, when Rashan Gary is presumably in the NFL and a couple hundred backup SDE snaps open up as Carlo Kemp moves into the starting lineup. He'll be the favorite to take those snaps since Donovan Jeter is already being talked about as a DT and anyone else will either be younger or bulking up to move from WDE. (Ron Johnson, come on down?)

That redshirt sophomore year will be an inflection point. He has the upside to blow past Kemp, who seems like a reliable plugger sort, not a star. It's unlikely but not impossible he does so. If he does end up behind Kemp he'll be a long term rotation guy with a shot at starting as a redshirt senior. The guess here is this becomes something of a Godin/Hurst situation where both guys can play and they split snaps down the middle with the older guy a ceremonial starter.


Roy G. Biv

July 6th, 2017 at 2:57 PM ^

Good to see a fellow Flint guy in the winged helmet. With SWA and NW pooling their athletic resources we're down to a single high school team. That is a far cry from the powerhouse days of Central and Northern. Hope DIB becomes a monster.


July 7th, 2017 at 3:08 PM ^

I graduated from SWA fairly recently. After I graduated, my mom put my brothers in Kearsley. I know others who moved their kids to Bentley, Bendle, Atherton and Flushing. All due to district instability.

It's just crazy that a district with the athletic history that Flint has is going through this. Since Mark Ingram graduated, SWA has won 5 football games total. NW isn't much better. There's not much in terms of youth programs in the city to get kids hooked, and then you have poor coaching or simply not enough coaches to get these kids developed. And it's not just football.

Basketball teams aren't nearly as good as you would assume they would be. The baseball programs at Central and Southwestern used to be powerhouses. Now SWA refuses to play in the SVL (instead playing smaller local schools like Genesee and Atherton) and they're a .500 team. Northwestern can't even get enough kids or a coach for baseball.

The closing of schools hit the district hard. As I said, kids were leaving the district in droves. Kids like Anton Wilson (UD Mercy Basketball) would have graduated from Central or Northern and he ended up at Carman-Ainsworth after Central closed.


July 6th, 2017 at 4:04 PM ^


Have to like Irving-Bey's shot at hitting his ceiling under Greg Mattison, who's been killing it on the defensive line since he returned to Michigan. Rivals skepticism came with no readily available justifications.

Weirdly in his last stint with Michigan Mattison did better with low-ranked recruits. 

Blue chips: Rasheed Simmons, Juaquin Feazell, David Bowens, Josh Williams, Brent Blackwell

Not: Glen Steele, Patrick Kratus, Ben Huff, Nate Miller, Eric Wilson, Will Carr, Rob Renes, James Hall

Only non-performer from the less heralded bunch is Kratus.


July 6th, 2017 at 5:46 PM ^

DIB is the recruit I was most excited about in part because of his potential and also because he didn't wind up at MSU, where he would have undoubtedly been annoyingly good for years.


August 12th, 2017 at 9:09 PM ^

Thanks for another great article, but "fringe" is such a meaningless word without the qualifier "four-star" and even then it's  meaningless.  The words that matter are: has frame and apparently other physical attributes necessary to be a star but has lacked coaching and exposure to high level competition for the most part so far.  Predictions on being a red-shirt obviously couldn't take into account Harbaugh mentioning him as "In the mix" as a back-up this year--a relatively meaningless comment but not insignificant--but the lack of depth on the DL suggests that predictions on redshirts for the DL and, more generally, on defense, are as meaningless as last year. As far as legally possible, who's redshirted may change from week to week depending on practice and play until close to the very end.  I'm not even including the inevitable injuries.  As far as reliability based on a consensus of "guru's," there's something there, but I cringe when you rely too much on them.  My opinion only, and I love these articles overall!  Thanks!