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)
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