UF commit shows skills in playoffs
Published: Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 23, 2012 at 1:10 a.m.
At 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, Florida football commit Joey Ivie has always been able to use his size as a weapon.
But the Dade City Pasco senior defensive lineman showed during last week's playoff-opening win over North Marion that his mind can be a weapon, too.
After a relatively quiet first half spent mostly measuring up North Marion's offensive line for weaknesses, Ivie spent the second half exploiting those weaknesses and converting them into repeated bull-rushes into the backfield that busted up play after play.
“In the first half I got to know the offensive linemen and what they like to do,” Ivie said. “And then I executed certain moves and they were working. I got in the backfield and ended up with four-and-a-half sacks.”
With Ivie blazing the trail, Pasco (11-0) steamrolled into the second round of the playoffs where the Pirates will host Eastside on Friday.
It's all just icing on the cake for Ivie, who said he was thrilled to commit to the Gators after a Gainesville minicamp in June.
“I grew up a Gator fan,” Ivie said, “but I didn't really expect to be playing for them.”
Ivie was recruited by running backs coach Brian White while also in frequent contact with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive line coach Bryant Young.
The Rivals four-star strongside defensive end prospect has a published list of over 25 offers including Florida State, Miami, Tennessee and Ole Miss, but after a round of visits he quickly decided he was going to be a Gator.
“Everything they do, from where they want me to play, the education, I love everything about it,” Ivie said. “Plus, it's only an hour-and-a-half away from home.”
Ivie showed impressive athleticism for his size and a nice burst against North Marion. Because of that size and speed, he said his future college coaches have told him he could be used in a variety of ways at UF.
“Maybe the first two downs at end, third down (at) D-tackle,” he said. “Just moving around the line. The versatility, that's what they like.”
Any football coach would like the way Ivie broke down his opponents mentally last week, then went on to dominate physically. For one night, at least, he showed he has a mind for the game that measures up to his physical stature.
It's a scary combination for a kid who's still growing.
“I'm going to get leaner,” Ivie said, “but bigger.”