Score one for McElwain’s first recruiting class. A big one.
One of the top offensive linemen in the country, tackle Martez Ivey, has declared that he will be a Florida Gator, spurning the efforts of the Auburn Tigers. It’s been a rocky start for Florida’s Signing Day- missing on defensive end Byron Cowart and receiver Ryan Davis this morning- but because of the desperate need for offensive linemen, this is more important than either of them.
Above all, the Gators just got a tremendous athlete in Ivey, which is something that’s fawned over at the offensive tackle position in the SEC. He’s a little under 300 lbs. right now; if he bulks up just a little, he could be the best lineman in the entire class when it’s all said and done. Ivey displays the pure quickness and explosive first step off the snap that can’t be taught. The only question mark on Ivey is that his high school team ran the ball a lot, so he’ll need lots of reps in pass protection. But again, with his natural ability, I don’t think this will be too much of a problem.
But what makes this pickup so huge is the need for quality offensive linemen. Put bluntly, the Gators’ offensive line is largely a mess. Three starting linemen will need to be replaced in Max Garcia, Chaz Green and DJ Humphries. Oh, and the Gators also lose Trenton Brown and Tyler Moore, key reserves who each started in six of the Gators’ 12 games last year. So Florida really has five key contributors to replace on the offensive line. Even if Ivey goes through the growing pains in 2015 that most freshmen go through, this is a must get for the future.
So the Gators got a big one in Ivey, but the day is far from over. There are still plenty more commitments to come today, so stay with us, keep checking our official NSD tracker for updates and hopefully we’ll have a lot of big time news to share with you as the day progresses!