FLINT, Mich. — Deron Irving-Bey doesn’t take his success for granted.
In 2015, he finished his junior season at Flint Southwestern (Mich.) without a single offer. Meanwhile, there are some eighth graders picking up FBS offers. That can be disheartening to see if you’re one of those older guys trying to get a ticket to college.
Irving-Bey, though, just stayed the course. Ten months later, the 6-foot-5, 270-pound senior reports 21 offers and has been selected as an U.S. Army All-American. The four-star defensive lineman built himself into a national commodity over the course of one spring and summer, now ranking as the No. 7 prospect in the state.
“I didn’t expect none of this, really,” Irving-Bey told Land of 10. “Like I always say, it’s just a blessing. Last year and this offseason, I just did what I had to do. I just went out there and I had nothing to lose. I had no offers. But now, I just balled out. I just did everything I could, and I’m here now.”
It’s a valuable lesson to recruits about how the process plays out differently for everyone. Irving-Bey has control now. College coaches await his every move, not the other way around.
His next move turned out to be a trip to Ann Arbor, Mich., to see No. 4 Michigan host No. 8 Wisconsin on Saturday in a battle of 4-0 teams. He got an invite and couldn’t turn it down.
“[I’m looking for] just a very great game,” Irving-Bey said of the visit. “Every time I go to one of the games, I just watch my position. I think I’m going to play D-tackle in college, so I just been watching what the D-tackle and the D-end does. I’m trying to reflect that in my gameplay.”
Teams haven’t definitively stated where along the line they see him playing. Both Michigan and Michigan State have three defensive end commits in the 2017 class, making it more likely he’d be needed at tackle should he choose an in-state school.
Speaking of Michigan and Michigan State, Irving-Bey addressed where the two stand. Michigan State had an early lead, but Michigan has closed, and they’re even now. He’s heard more from Michigan than any others in the past week, which makes sense, as the coaches were like solidifying his plans to visit.
Irving-Bey plans to attend a Michigan State game this season. “I’ve just got to decide when,” he said. As for official visits to Michigan and Michigan State, those will likely wait until after the season.
While those two might be the obvious options, Irving-Bey hasn’t limited his interest to his home state. Maryland, Tennessee and Syracuse (with whom he contacted again) round out his top five, and he plans to visit Tennessee for its matchup with current No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 15.
Michigan State continues to pursue a commitment with defensive line coach Ron Burton, co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett and director of college advancement and performance Curtis Blackwell contacting him regularly.
Asked whether he, like four-star cornerback Ambry Thomas, plans to commit at the All-American Bowl, Irving-Bey seemed intrigued but didn’t have an answer.
“I’m really thinking about it,” he said, “but I’m really completely not sure.”
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.