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Defensive end Deron Irving-Bey, cornerback Dishon McNary eligible to play in New Mexico Bowl

Central Michigan defensive lineman Deron Irving-Bey participates with teammates in drills at a practice Dec. 17 before the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Jim McElwain was patiently waiting to hear back on defensive end Deron Irving-Bey and cornerback Dishon McNary.

"We won't know until Friday," McElwain said. "That's when the grades come out."

Well, Friday has come and gone.

Final grades for Central Michigan's fall semester became official, and Irving-Bey and McNary became academically eligible and active for the New Mexico Bowl, according to a CMU spokesperson.

With injuries to true freshman cornerback Kyron McKinnie-Harper, the player that occupied the left side of the field, and sophomore cornerback Darius Bracy, McNary could likely be called on to start against San Diego State.

Irving-Bey is unlikely to start at defensive end, but he could see time on the field throughout the contest.

The Chippewas play at 2 p.m. Saturday against the Aztecs from Dreamstyle Stadium.

Both players will be juniors for the 2020 season.

Irving-Bey transferred to Central Michigan from the Wolverines in August 2018, sat out due to NCAA transfer rules, was kicked out of the university for academic reasons, returned for 2019 fall practices, sat out this season to improve his grades and is now finally able to get on the field.

To this point in his career, the 6-foot-5, 290-pound lineman has not played a college football game.

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, 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 Power Five programs – Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Iowa State, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Tennessee.

McNary came to Central Michigan from Independence CC in the 2018 season where he made 28 tackles, two sacks, 10 pass breakups and a blocked kick.

After a year of being coached by Jason Brown at the NCJAA level, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback announced his decision to attend Central Michigan on Dec. 18.

McNary was expected to be eligible for the entire 2019 season, but he later learned his grades had to improve.

Irving-Bey and McNary are finally getting their chances for the Chippewas.