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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Favorites take shape for ESPN Jr. 300 OL

By Gerry Hamilton

APOPKA, Fla. -- Martez Ivey (Apopka, Fla./Apopka), the No. 7-ranked prospect in the ESPN Junior 300, is one of the hottest commodities in recruiting.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound tackle prospect walks into the Blue Darters weight room every day and has college coaches waiting to watch him lift weights or just make sure the physically imposing prospect knows they are at the school.

On Tuesday, it was Georgia head coach Mark Richt accompanied by assistants Will Friend and Bryan McClendon and Missouri assistant Brian Jones.

While many prospects would let the lofty ranking and nonstop recruiting attention go to their head, Ivey remains grounded, focused and open to the process while admitting he grew up a Florida Gators fan.

“I haven’t really thought about it a lot,” Ivey said. “I don’t even know every one of my offers. I’m open right now.”

While the college coaches dropping by Apopka High by the dozens don’t impress the quick and very physical line prospect, the junior day visits could be another story.

“I talked to Florida, Oklahoma and South Carolina about junior days. Florida wants me to come up on Feb. 1. I definitely want to see the players at schools. Their attitudes toward football is big. Seeing if they want to win a championship and compete. So that’s what I want to see.”

With Ivey growing up watching the Gators, it comes without surprise that he will be keeping a close eye on the offensive staff transition beginning in spring practice.

“I’m just waiting to see what they are going to do this year since they got a new offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. It might be a whole different team next year,” Ivey said.

The Gators, at least in terms of communications and relationship, are leading for the No. 2 offensive lineman in the 2015 class.

“The linebacker coach [D.J. Durkin] and offensive line coach [Mike Summers] from Florida are guys I’m staying in contact with the most,” he said.

Ivey says he isn’t close to narrowing his focus to a workable number of schools, but he does acknowledge a trio of programs, in addition to Florida, he hopes to visit this spring and summer.

Playing on the biggest stage certainly doesn’t hurt a program’s chances with Ivey.

“Definitely Auburn, and Florida State again,” said Ivey, of teams that are piquing his interests. “Maybe Alabama if I can get out there.”

Learning more about each program has become Ivey’s top priority in recruiting.

“I don’t really know much about Auburn yet, but I mean Chandler [Cox] has been there and tells me it’s a great campus and atmosphere,” said Ivey, the No. 7 overall 2015 prospect. “I went to the Florida State-Idaho game this year. That was my first time being there. I liked it out there actually. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I mean, the school is like humongous and really nice. The stadium was huge … the field was pretty sweet.”