Deron Irving-Bey, Wolverine

Deron Irving-Bey, Wolverine

December 19, 2016

Flint (MI) Southwestern DE Deron Irving-Bey is a U.S. Army All-American (image via Scout)

Flint (MI) Southwestern defensive end Deron Irving-Bey committed to Michigan on Monday afternoon. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Pitt, and Tennessee, among others.

He’s a 6’5″, 282 lb. prospect who has been selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 7, 2017. As a junior in 2015, he made 73 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks.

ESPN: 4-star, 81 grade, #18 DT, #258 overall
Rivals: 3-star, #18 SDE
Scout: 4-star, #24 DE, #279 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 93 grade, #5 SDE, #186 overall

Hit the jump for more on Irving-Bey’s commitment.

Irving-Bey was a relative unknown for a guy who has ended up a 4-star prospect. He was only on the fringe of my radar before Michigan extended an offer this past summer. The offer from the Wolverines was surprising since they were recruiting a lot of high-level talent, and Irving-Bey did not seem to fit into that category. He did garner some decent offers, as listed above, but it’s not a who’s-who of FBS football. Regardless, Michigan State was thought to be his leader, but a strange thing happened and he started visiting Michigan over and over again. He took an official visit to Ann Arbor in early December, and a commitment was supposed to take place at the U.S. Army Bowl in January. However, he might have waited himself out of a spot if he held off that long, and thus an announcement time (4:00 p.m.) sprung up out of nowhere overnight.

For obvious reason, I’ve kept my eye on Irving-Bey over the last several months. Here’s what I’ve gathered over that time: First of all, Irving-Bey is a good-sized kid with a solid frame. He moves pretty well in a straight line, and he redirects fairly well down the line of scrimmage.

On the negative side, he does not use his hands well coming out of his stance and lets offensive players control him. Not only does he fail to use his hands initially, but he does not do a good job of making a secondary move to shed blockers. He stands up too high out of his stance and lets offensive players get into his chest. There are times when he looks a little too tentative when chasing plays. He tiptoes around blockers rather than running pell-mell to get there, and for someone who is mentioned as being anywhere from 250-282 lbs., he does not make great contact when he arrives at the ball carrier. Too often he just grabs on and lets his weight do the majority of the work. Some places have suggested that he might have a future at offensive tackle, but he does not move his feet well enough at this point for me to project him there, and he tries to overpower defenders with his upper body.

As you can see, the list of pros is shorter than the cons with Irving-Bey. I have not been a big fan of his abilities throughout his recruitment. Scout and 247 Sports both like him pretty well, and those sites have done pretty well with evaluations. So, too, have the likes of Jim Harbaugh, Greg Mattison, and Don Brown. I will obviously defer to them when it comes to who fits best in their system, because they hit a lot more than they miss. But to my own eyes, Irving-Bey isn’t particularly athletic or physical, and he does not play with a non-stop motor that might overcome other deficiencies. He reminds me of Columbus (OH) St. Francis DeSales defensive lineman Chris Rock from the class of 2011. If that name sounds only vaguely familiar or has escaped you entirely, that’s because he never stepped on the field for Michigan before transferring, walking on at Ohio State, and then only playing a few snaps in garbage time. (Here’s Rock’s commitment post from May 30, 2010.) Maybe the coaches know something about him that they feel they can tap into for motivation.

Irving-Bey has the body of a future 3-tech defensive tackle, in my opinion. He could also be a 5-tech end, which is the position he played in his high school’s odd-front defense. If you look at the depth chart for 2017 (LINK), there really aren’t a lot of experienced players returning on the interior of the line. Someone like Rashan Gary could probably continue to play at strongside end while also taking some snaps at 3-tech, but at least one freshman is likely to see snaps at 3-tech. I do not believe it will be Irving-Bey, who should probably redshirt, but the door remains open for several people – Irving-Bey, Donovan Jeter, James Hudson III, Phillip Paea – to jockey for position.

Michigan now has 24 commitments in the 2017 class, which is supposed to reach somewhere near 30. You can see the 2017 scholarship count here (LINK), which doesn’t include Cesar Ruiz or Irving-Bey just yet (but will soon). With the two commitments from today, the Wolverines are up to 87 allotted scholarships for 2017, which means they’ll have to shed at least two current players in order to make room for the incoming class.

The great Rick Leach went to Flint (MI) Southwestern, but it’s generally not a heavily recruited school for Michigan. Several players came from there in the 1970s, but the last to sign with Michigan was defensive end Quintin Woods in 2006. He was a non-qualifier, went to a JUCO in California, and then played at Kansas for a couple years.

TTB Rating: 59 (ratings explanation)


  1. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Dec 19, 2016 at 9:04 PM

    Not an encouraging review and his offer list is replacement-level for Michigan. On the bright side, the services love him and, more importantly, our coaching staff seems to as well.

    The staff’s interest has been there for a while and you never heard rumors that he was being slow-played. In fact, it seems he was encouraged to sign on ASAP. Given the other targets on their list and the quantity of committments at DL, they must see something they like in him.

    Mattison has had a few misses in recent years (e.g., Strobel, Pallante, Poggi) but the number of successes is too long to even list. I trust his eye for talent probably over any other coach on the staff. I have little reason to question any recruit they pick at this point unless he’s an obvious backup plan.

    The bottom line is that Michigan needs bodies in the trenches and DIB is another option with good size and talent.

    • Comments: 183
      Joined: 9/3/2015
      suduri xusai
      Dec 19, 2016 at 9:47 PM

      59 🙁

      I hope Harbaugh, Mattison and others viewed enough of him before making the decision. With the rotation at DL, I don’t mind as long as he grows up to be a role player.

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 20, 2016 at 8:17 AM

      You’re right that Michigan needs bodies. I just wonder what other players there are who could fill this spot instead of Irving-Bey. Michigan didn’t really seem to turn over every leaf when searching for 3-tech/5-tech bodies.

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Dec 20, 2016 at 12:43 PM

        I appreciate the recognition that there is opportunity cost in any scholarship. Any commit takes a spot from another potential commit.

        Your skepticism is noted, as is DIB’s very ‘regional’ offer list.

        At this stage, I’m inclined to ‘trust the coaches’ in regard to OL and DL commitments more than recruiting profiles. That’s more true in the trenches than at other positions because of higher level of uncertainty on the OL and Mattison’s track record on the DL.

  2. Comments: 263
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Dec 19, 2016 at 10:06 PM

    The kid definitely has some work to do in learning how to use his hands. Also plays too high. But he does get off the ball fast and cover serious ground on his first step, for a big guy. Carries his weight well too. Guessing Mattison thinks he can build around that. Boy, I remember UM struggling to find big DL prospects for long stretches back in the day. Now, they are stockpiling 6’5″ 280 lbs DL recruits like they grow on trees. Great to see.

    • Comments: 1863
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Dec 20, 2016 at 1:05 AM

      Painter Smurf, don’t see you posting much/enough here (or at GBMWolverine)

      I’m surprised at how low this ranking is. He’s a big body, and at the very least could provided valuable depth in 2-3 years… nevermind, that fits the description for 59! Prove us wrong young man!

      Go Blue

  3. Comments: 182
    Joined: 9/15/2015
    Dec 20, 2016 at 12:00 AM

    agree with pretty much your entire eval – more negatives than positives on tape but also defer to coaches judgement. i guess they trust their ability to motivate and mold this kid into a player (but on tape he honestly just looks like a giant kid who only recently started playing football) and ive got no reason to doubt this staff at this point. but id feel better if they had more gifted depth on current roster, had solomon or an elite DT already committed or were favored to land several elite DTs (bc theyve added some nice projects at DL this cycle but no one jumps out as ready right now to contribute inside)

  4. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Dec 20, 2016 at 1:09 AM

    Daaang… in six years, not one poster commented on the Chris Rock commitment thread?

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 20, 2016 at 8:19 AM

      Traffic was somewhat lighter back then. There wasn’t quite as much business heading my way.

  5. Comments: 1357
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Dec 20, 2016 at 7:25 AM

    I’m thinking that Thunder got excited and used up all his TTB points on Cesar Ruiz and had not enough left for poor Deron Irving-Bey.

    I like this kid better than 59. His video is tough to watch because he’s not identified particularly well when they line up, if at all. I watched it 3 times only because of Thunder’s rating. If there’s a kid in this class that deserves the ubiquitous criticism about standing up and needing to get his pad level down it’s Irving Bey. But ….. Mattison. He doesn’t look to be a nasty kid on film.

    When he does fire out, he has some good burst. He’s pretty thick and strong through his legs and hips. He makes me think “country strong” watching him. His feet work and he can run more than a little for a kid his size.

    There’s a lot of competition coming in at both the 5 and 3 tech position which influences Thunder’s rating system. Still, I put this kid high 60’s, low 70s.

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 20, 2016 at 8:22 AM

      Yeah, I could have used up all my positive energy with the Ruiz thing…

      But seriously, I don’t think you can really watch that film and see a whole lot of exceptional plays. Pulling from RT and knocking a kid down on a kickout block doesn’t excite me all that much. Shedding a blocker and coming down the line to stop someone for a 1-yard gain doesn’t get the juices flowing. I see where someone might find potential (big kid, moves fairly well), but as far as playing football…meh. Then again, he did well at camps, so maybe he amps up his own effort when he goes against better competition.

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Dec 20, 2016 at 12:45 PM

        It’s possible that his highlight video isn’t giving a full picture. I suspect some kids have better resources and contacts for this stuff than others.

        That’s not meant to take away from what you are saying about how he moves. You use the data you have.

      • Comments: 1357
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Dec 20, 2016 at 1:09 PM

        Ruiz is an exciting prospect. With the usual caveat that I only sort of understand line play, I think he’s the best line prospect among the group that I looked at this year, and that includes the two big tackles that got away ….. so far. Such a wonderful combination of thick, quick, strength and balance. Still, I thought you could have maybe shaved 4 points from Ruiz and thrown them to our new man Irving-Bey. I really was impressed with what happens when he stays low and fires forward. I think tight ends may grow to hate him in much the same way they hate Wormley.

        • Comments: 523
          Joined: 8/12/2015
          Dec 20, 2016 at 5:29 PM

          What I like about Ruiz is he’s a true center prospect … and our offense seems to run better when there’s a reliable guy in that spot. I’m thinking David Molk and Graham Glasgow.

          I wonder if anyone has studied where QB sacks/pressure most often come from — weak side, strong side, or up the middle?

          • Comments: 3845
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Dec 21, 2016 at 7:42 AM

            I’m sure those studies have been done, although I’m not sure about the results. I don’t remember reading any articles/chapters on that subject from Smart Football, Bill Connelly, etc.

  6. Comments: 134
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    Dec 20, 2016 at 8:02 AM

    It is a nice world we live in when a 4-star prospect from in-state is deemed to be a marginal recruit by Michigan’s standards. Maybe he is a developmental prospect based on what guys like Thunder see in his tape. I do think there is at least some value in also locking up a solid in-state guy and keeping him away from your rival. He isn’t a star prospect, but he looks like a good guy to fill out the depth chart. Lanknows mentioned some misses (Strobel, Pallantine, Poggi) that date back to the Hoke era. None of those guys were very good, but they all played.

    I’m wondering if he projects to a ceiling like Matt Godin more than Chris Rock.

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Dec 20, 2016 at 11:38 AM

      Reaching Godin’s level would be a success for any of these DT/SDE recruits. He was a mult-year starter who, based on playing time at least, was on par with Wormley, Henry, and Hurst. Fans didnt give him much credit but the coach’s actions speak volumes.

      Also I should note that Poggi shouldn’t really count against Mattison. He was always considered a potential TE/H-back and his move to offense has been generally successful (though not especially exciting for a high 4-star recruit).

  7. Comments: 313
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    Dec 20, 2016 at 3:57 PM

    Only positional needs for me are an upper-tier interior DL and an upper-tier OT.

    I feel 59 is a bit low. Irving-Bey looks like a quality prospect, who could turn into a high quality starter at SDE, or interior DL. The depth chart makes me think he’ll have a great shot at contributing, too. Even if he turns into an average starter, that puts him in the 60-69 range, yes?

  8. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Aug 21, 2018 at 12:24 AM

    Called it… Best of luck to the young man, but nice job Thunder

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