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Once academically ineligible, defensive end Deron Irving-Bey nears return for bowl game

Central Michigan defensive end Deron Irving-Bey practices Aug. 7 at the Bennett Track Field.

Once academically dismissed from the university, defensive end Deron Irving-Bey has nearly been cleared to return for the Central Michigan football team.

He still has a little bit of work to do.

Irving-Bey still has to finish the fall semester with passing grades, and the same is said for Independence Community College transfer cornerback Dishon McNary.

But both are on track to do so.

"Both Deron and McNary, should they handle what they need to do academically, have an opportunity," said first-year coach Jim McElwain. "If we can get them certified, they would be eligible as continuing students to play in the bowl game. That's to be determined based on finals and grades."

At the conclusion of the fall semester in 2018, Irving-Bey was kicked out of the university due to struggles in the classroom. 

He went to a NJCAA school, worked on his academics during the spring semester and returned to Central Michigan.

Irving-Bey, a former transfer from Michigan, became returned to the program and started practicing with the team in fall camp, but he still needed to clear NCAA waivers.

"He's been back in school," McElwain told Central Michigan Life in early August. "Obviously, there's some waiver stuff that needs to happen, so we'll see what happens."

McElwain avoided going into the details of Irving-Bey's NCAA waiver, but seems to have finally concluded.

"It's an opportunity," McElwain said about Irving-Bey and McNary.
"Hopefully, they are able to get what they need to done so they've got a chance to help."

When originally asked about the situation, McElwain blamed it on misinformation between both Irving-Bey and the university.

"He was instructed on some things and got some misinformation," McElwain told Central Michigan Life in April. "Obviously, it's two sides to everything. He could've done some things better and he could've been informed better.

"He's a great person and a good kid."

After spending an entire 2017 season with the Wolverines in Ann Arbor without playing, Irving-Bey transferred to CMU from Michigan on Aug. 21, 2018.

McElwain is excited for Irving-Bey to get a chance to suit up for Central Michigan.

After all, it has been a long time coming. 

"It's all hands on deck," McElwain said. "You let the best guys play. If he's one of those guys, based on those practices, he'll get an opportunity to get in there, bang around a little bit and maybe knock some rust off."

Irving-Bey was a four-star prospect in the 2017 class, graduating from Southwestern Academy High School in Flint. He held the No. 249 overall ranking in the country and was No. 9 at strong-side defensive end and No. 4 in Michigan, per the 247Sports Composite.

As a high school senior, Irving-Bey registered 79 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. His scholarship offers included multiple Big Ten Conference programs, including Michigan, Michigan State and Maryland.

He participated in the 2017 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, was selected to the USA Today All-USA Michigan first team as a senior and named the Flint Journal’sDefensive Player of the Year for 2016.