On Thursday, I stopped at Pasco (Fla.) High School as part of SB Nation Recruiting's spring coverage. In 2011, I probably wouldn't have made the trip. But 2012 is a new year, and a reminder the freakish growth spurts do happen during puberty. Such was the story of the off-season of Joey Ivie.
Ivie is a 6'4", 270 pound defensive lineman. But it wasn't always that way. "I've come a long way. I was about 235 as a sophomore, about 245 last year," Ivie said. That size seems to run in the family. "My brother is a freshman and he's 6'2". My dad is a real big guy, too, he's like 6'4" 330," Ivie said. Ivie put on the last 25 pounds of muscle by eating right and working hard in the weight room. And he hasn't added any body fat. "I finished fourth in the state. Tried for first, but didn't get it," Ivie said. That's quite impressive when you see Ivie in person, as his long frame makes it difficult to compete in weight lifting competitions against more compact athletes. He wants to add upper body strength and work on improving his quickness as well.
The hard work is paying off. "Today I got offered by Tennessee and Rutgers, and Missouri offered yesterday," Ivie said. While he doesn't have an official top-five or anything, there are a few schools he likes thanks to his family. "My whole family is Florida fans and I grew up a Florida fan," Ivie said. "But my aunt and my cousins, they all like Florida State, so I like them too," he added. But Ivie isn't focused on watching just one team. "Now, I watch the schemes, and see how my game would fit in the defense," Ivie said. Ivie now holds offers from Florida, Florida State, Miami, Mississippi State, Missouri, Purdue, Tennessee, Rutgers, USF, Vanderbilt and West Virginia and others.
Ivie is excited to visit many of those schools once spring practice his finished. "I'm going to try to visit Florida, Miami, Florida State, USF and maybe a few more," Ivie said.
He'll also hit the road this summer for the Unsigned Preps tour. "I'll be on the bus with coach Ricky to Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia, schools like that," Ivie said. "And I want to get to the Florida and USF camps," he added.
Ivie is a really interesting recruit because he's a very trim 270 pounds. He could be a jumbo defensive end or slide inside to defensive tackle. Much of it depends on how much he continues to grow. "End or tackle. Maybe a five-technique in a 3-4. A lot of colleges see me as an end on first and second down, and a pass rushing tackle on third down," Ivie said. That would make sense as colleges increasingly look to control the edge with bigger defenders to combat the spread run game. "I think that would be best for me. I'm hoping to get to 290, 300 and really play," Ivie said.
Ivie isn't just one of the fastest rising prospects on the field, but is good in the classroom as well. "I'm close to a 3.0 [GPA] and I'll take the SAT coming up," he said.
Ivie is excited about the upcoming season and thinks Pasco has a chance to make another deep run in the state playoffs.
Ivie is strong, explosive and versatile. He's one of the best recruits in Florida.