HOOVER, Ala. — Martez Ivey arrived at Florida three years ago as the nation’s No. 1 ranked offensive tackle recruit. 247 Sports touted him as the second-best prospect in the entire class of 2015; Scout had him at No. 3. Ivey, though, knew better than to get sucked up in his own hype.
“I was so raw coming out of high school,” Ivey told SI Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “I had pretty much zero experience pass blocking.”
Ivey played in a Wing-T offense at Apopka Senior (Fla.) High, so learning and honing his technique once on campus in Gainesville was a must. He has spent most of his college career inside at left guard, starting 20 games for what has been a very suspect O-line. The Gators’ offensive line was a mess when Jim McElwain showed up. UF had just four scholarship linemen. They finished dead last nationally in sacks allowed in 2015 and improved to 71st last season as they started to build their depth back up front, though they still ranked 113th in rushing yards per game.
McElwain is optimistic that his offensive front is primed to become a strength of the team with Ivey, once a signing-day headliner of his first Florida recruiting class three winters ago and now a budding star as a 6′ 5″, 315-pound junior, sliding out to left tackle. Ivey’s transition from the inside back outside is one many offensive tackles have to make, and it demands a mindset adjustment.
“I gotta focus on staying patient and not being too aggressive,” Ivey said. “As an offensive lineman you wanna go out there and maul the defensive lineman. There’s definitely less contact out there at tackle than there is at guard.”