The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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56 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2017   COMMITMENT PROFILE For a long time, it looked liked Flint (Mich.) Southwesternn Acad- emy three-star strongside defensive end Deron Irving-Bey was going to end up at Michigan State. How- ever, as the 2016 college football sea- son wore on, the 6-5, 245-pounder showed up to more and more events at the University of Michigan and, in the end, it was the Wolverines, not the Spartans, who won him over. Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt had been following Ir- ving-Bey's recruitment for around two years and, despite the early mo- mentum for MSU, is not surprised that the No. 9 player in Michigan ended up choosing U-M. "He grew up a Michigan fan," Helmholdt explained. "Most of his family are Michigan fans, and that fac- tored in. However, Michigan State was first in with an offer and did a great job early on recruiting him. It took a while for Michigan to overtake the Spartans. "That offer came in last spring and he committed after his senior season. Michigan needed all of that time to get on top." Irving-Bey used the famous line for in-state prospects during his commit- ment video, "The best players in Michi- gan go to Michigan," before celebrating with his friends at Southwestern Acad- emy. The Wolverines beat out the Spar- tans along with Maryland and Iowa for Irving-Bey's commitment, and kept the fence up for yet another one of the Great Lakes State's talented prospects. "Every time I went to Michigan I could tell I wanted to be there," Irving-Bey explained. "It's a big- time program and it's a place I can be coached. I feel like I can get to the next level at a place like Michigan. "The education is also one of the best you could get, and I can get all of that close to home so why not?" Michigan's education, tradition, stadium and facilities all speak for themselves whenever recruits visit, but it was a trusty old member of Michigan's staff who really latched on to Irving-Bey. Veteran defensive line coach Greg Mattison has a way with recruits de- spite being 67 years old. The grizzled D-line coach bonded well with Irving- Bey and ultimately made the talented lineman's choice that much easier. "That's my guy," Irving-Bey said of Mattison. "He's one of the coolest dudes there is. I know he's older, but he's just cool. It's hard to explain. He's just a really fun dude to be around. "As a coach, he really knows what he's doing. You can just tell that he's been doing it a long time and knows all of the ins and outs that go along with each position on the line. He thinks he can get the best out of me, regardless of where I play, and I trust him to do that." The specific position that Irving-Bey will play at Michigan is fluid right now, but he expects to start off as an interior lineman. He's fine with wherever Mat- tison wants to put him and plans to work as hard as possible to succeed. "The coaches told me I'll be play- ing defensive tackle to start off," Ir- ving-Bey explained. "They showed me on film how they'd use me, and I think I can be good on the inside. I played both [inside and on the end] in high school, and I'm going to do whatever the coaches need me to do. "Coach Mattison will get me right no matter where I'm at." Helmholdt agrees with Irving- Bey's self-analysis and thinks he has what it takes to play multiple posi- tions on the defensive front. "He's an ideally sized kid for the position and is a very good athlete," Helmholdt said. "He checks off the main boxes you're looking for as a movable defensive lineman. "The nice thing about Irving-Bey is that he can really do whatever you want him to do. If you want him to be a three-technique defensive tackle, if that's where your need is, he can do that. If you want him as a five-tech- nique defensive end, he can do that too. "He's not markedly better at either one to where you'd stick him at one certain position. He has that versatil- ity to be useful and to be potentially very good at either spot." Irving-Bey didn't achieve a lot of team success at Southwestern Acad- emy, but individually he was able to shine. This season, he played defen- sive end and offensive tackle while making the Associated Press' All-State Team and being honored as The Flint Journal's Defensive Player of the Year. He finished with 79 tackles, 17 tack- les for loss, nine sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. — Brandon Brown FILM EVALUATION Strengths: Versatility is Deron Irving-Bey's biggest asset. He has enough size to play on the interior, but also possesses the explosiveness and burst to succeed on the edge. Areas Of Improvement: Irving-Bey will definitely need to improve on his technique in order to prosper at the next level. He's not elite in terms of size or athleticism, but he's got a solid enough blend of the two to be very good. Michigan Player Comparison: Irving-Bey seems to compare very favorably to former Michigan defensive lineman Jibreel Black. Both were labeled as three- star prospects during their final season of high school, and both were labeled as versatile talents. Irving-Bey has a better frame at 6-5 compared to Black's 6-2, with both being upwards of 265 pounds as freshmen. Black went from defensive end to defensive tackle during his four years at U-M, and Irving-Bey seems to have the skill set to play both as well. — Analysis from Irving-Bey was named The Flint Journal's Defensive Player of the Year and Associated Press first-team all-state, after compiling 79 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and nine sacks as a senior. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM U-M Wins Out Over Michigan State For Deron Irving-Bey

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