After months of attempting to get to Ann Arbor for the first time, Flint (Mich.) Southwestern defensive end Deron Irving-Bey finally made it to Michigan's campus Saturday for the annual Barbecue at the Big House. It was a trip that proved well worth the wait. That came through loud and clear in his response to what aspect of the visit stood out the most.
“Everything did,” Irving-Bey replied. “It blew me away. The coaches, the friendships among the players, the facilities… another thing was the (Jordan) gear. The gear, man… everything is so nice! Everything I experienced (during the barbecue) stood out. It was way more than what I expected. It was a 10.”
“Really, I just loved it. From the time I got there Chris (Wormley) hosted me throughout the whole experience. He showed me the facilities, the field, and everything… telling us how the team is one. Chris told me (Greg Mattison) is a great coach. All around (the country) he has great connections. He is a very experienced coach. He is a really great coach.”
“I was really blown away.”
As impressed as Irving-Bey was, his mother Dionne Richardson-Bey may have been even more so.
“It was a really good experience,” Richardson-Bey said. “I liked that visit (more) than any other visits that we’ve been on. But like he has told people before, I’m a Michigan fan anyway! (Laughter). That was actually my first time being there and seeing the stadium. It was really great. I like the atmosphere, I like the communication, the closeness… it’s a real friendly staff. They kind have me reassured that if he came there he’d be in good hands.”
It’s reasonable to question whether mom’s view is skewed by her lifelong affinity for the Maize & Blue. After all she did cry when she learned that the Wolverines had offered. Still she insists she would have come to the same conclusion about the quality of their trip to Ann Arbor even if she were stripped of her fandom.
“(Michigan) would still be the top visit,” said Richardson-Bey.
“The staff made me feel more comfortable with him coming there. The other places I’ve visited have been hit and miss…. talking to one person and then they’ve got to go talk to somebody else, but the main person who really knew we were coming we didn’t spend that much time with. (At Michigan) even though Coach Mattison was with other people too, he still came back to us and made us feel comfortable. He made sure we had everything we needed. We sat down and talked with him and coach Harbaugh, and that was really good for me.”
While mom’s leanings are clearly a positive sign for Michigan, hers aren’t the ones that will determine the outcome of her son’s recruitment.
“I’m not a Michigan State fan, but I was glad they showed interest and wants him to come there,” Richardson-Bey said. “But for the school that I really like to offer him… yes that really hit home with me (laughing). But like I said, the biggest (part) of the decision is where he is going to be most comfortable (and) where he can get the (nursing) degree that he wants to get.”
If a school currently has an edge in earning that distinction, Irving-Bey isn’t saying. However he is saying the early decision he appeared on his way to is no longer in the cards.
“I was close to (pledging to MSU), but I’m not committing until close to the end of the season,” Irving-Bey admitted. “After I take my official visits.”
Tennessee and Maryland currently join the Wolverines and Spartans on his planned official visit list.
Stay tuned to The Michigan Insider for more on Irving-Bey for weeks and months to come.