Apopka offensive tackle Martez Ivey got in his first full-fledged work of the offseason Saturday at the Nike Football Training Camp at Austin Tindall Park, turning in what he called an "OK" performance for the day.
It was Ivey's first extensive work since coming off arthroscopic knee surgery for a torn right meniscus in December, and other than a little swelling he said he felt fine.
"It's not really bothering me. It's just like a little slight bend here and there that I can't really do, so I guess it's just a little painful, but not really," said Ivey.
He was one of the top five offensive linemen on the day, joining Groveland South Lake guard T.J. McCoy, Orlando Lake Nona center J.D. Rice, Sarasota Booker guard Romello Burke, and Montverde Academy's Nigerian tackle Abdul Bello. Burke won the O-Line MVP honors.
Ivey's performance earned him an invitation to Nike's annual high school showcase The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., this summer.
"I felt good for coming off my surgery. It's the first time I pass-blocked in a while and the first time I actually really moved doing football-wise stuff, so it was, I'm not gonna say impressive for me, but it was OK," Ivey said.
It was also the first time he had gone up against the state's consensus top defensive end in Byron Cowart of Seffner Armwood and held his own, for the most part, in what was a pass-blocking competition. Ivey, of course, is a run-blocking beast for the ground-it-out Apopka attack.
"I felt like it was pretty good. We tied, I believe, 2-2," Ivey said of Cowart. "It's great competition and [Cowart] is one of the best D-ends I've been up against in a while, throughout my high school career definitely at a camp."
Ivey is the No. 1-ranked player in the Sentinel's 2015 Central Florida Super60, and is the top offensive tackle in the country and the No. 5-overall player according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings, but he shrugs it off.
"You can't really go into college with a 5-star and these rankings and nation's top this or whatever. Nobody cares when you go to college," Ivey said. "It defintely is gonna make you perform because everybody wants [a shot at] you. It's not really pressure, but you gotta perform well. You gotta live up to the expectations."
Of 35 expert prognostications on the 247sports Crystal Ball, 34 have predicted Ivey will select Florida as his school of choice. He says, however, not so fast. Ivey's decision could come down to a mutual choice with teammate fullback Chandler Cox. The two friends are inseparable. Florida is also a heavy favorite in the chase for Cox's services, as well, with 18 of 20 predictions point toward the Gators.
"In my mind I've got it narrowed down, but I'm not really gonna say nothing yet because I still gotta go on my officials," Ivey said. "I'm very open but I talk to Florida on a weekly basis."
Next up for Ivey and Cox will be next weekend's Rivals Camp Series at Oviedo. Other Apopka players at the NFTC on Saturday were wide receivers Ray Ray Smith and James Crider, defensive back Ben Bascom and offensive lineman Cain Hammond, who transferred from Mount Dora last fall.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting, and on Instagram at os_recruiting.