Ivy looking forward to fitting in at tight end

Getting recruited was one thing. Stepping onto Indiana’s campus as a member of the football team was another.

For freshman tight end T.J. Ivy, it’s all part of the summer acclimation process.

“It didn’t really get real until my parents left and closed the door behind me and went back to Chicago,” Ivy said. “But coming in the locker room, it was like, ‘Wow!’ I could see my name up there, my position and everything. It was really a cool sight. It’s the kind of thing every kid dreams of.”

Now, Ivy and the rest of his fellow freshmen are eager to make their dreams reality.

In Ivy’s case, there’s an avenue for him to carve a role on this season’s depth chart. With former All-Big Ten tight end Ian Thomas now with the Carolina Panthers, the Hoosiers are looking for the next wave of contributors at the position.

There will be an open competition among IU’s tight ends later this summer, one featuring Ivy, returnees Ryan Watercutter, Austin Dorris, Peyton Hendershot and Shaun Bonner.

Ivy, along with classmate Matt Bjorson, wants to stake a claim to a job inside IU’s offense. He also knows doing so won’t be easy.

“It’s definitely something I’m looking forward to, getting out there and competing,” Ivy said. “That’s something I love to do. But at the same time, I understand I am a freshman, so I’m getting in here and getting ready and making sure I get myself (prepared) before I start looking at others.”

Although game experience at the position is limited, offensive coordinator Mike DeBord has some intriguing, athletic options this season.

Ivy is certainly among them.

The 6-foot-5, 238-pound frosh earned all-state honors at Marist High School in Chicago last fall. He caught 57 passes for 936 yards and scored 13 touchdowns in his final two seasons.

The former West Virginia commit also held offers from Iowa, Purdue, Illinois and Rutgers, among other schools, and knows DeBord dating to the coach’s previous stop at Tennessee, where the Volunteers also expressed interest in the young tight end.

“One thing I like about (DeBord) is he utilizes the tight end position,” Ivy said. “You can look at some universities and some people focus on receivers. Some people focus on their backfield and everything. He makes the eight end a strong point. They should because tight end is one position on the field where there’s multiple jobs. It can make a difference or break it.

“… It’s a really balanced system (at Indiana). That’s one of the main things that attracted me here in the first place, because at the end of the day, tight ends are going to block. That’s what you’re going to do. At the same time, you’re going out there, getting in and running routes, setting up pick plays and stuff like that. It’s different.”

Like so many of his classmates, Ivy is spending the summer growing comfortable with IU’s offseason workouts. They’re draining, but there should be a pay off.

By the start of the season, Ivy is aiming to weigh in at 250 pounds. With the current training regimen, Ivy expects to get there.

In the meantime, he’s trying to fit in as best he can.

“Everybody here wants to get out there and work,” Ivy said. “Everybody here wants that breakthrough that coach (Tom) Allen talks about. We’re close every year. We don’t want to be close anymore. We want to do it.”

5 comments

  1. Ivy has the size, speed, and hands to be a top TE in the B1G but it will take development to reach that level. IU has some very good looking TEs that have athletic ability to be very good. Whoever steps up this year will be pressed to match Thomas’s threat from last year. I could see TE being an even bigger roll this year if Ramsey is the starter. If Dawkins or Penix wins the job we will have to wait and see how they develop as a passer and which receiver position they tend to go to.

  2. I believe the tight end will be a key position in DeBord’s offense regardless of who the starting QB is. If Dawkins is the starter (as I suspect he will be), the tight ends will be used as safety valves on run/pass options. Once the defense has to protect against a Dawkin’s run, they have to drop off the tight end, which makes the tight end an easy target for an intermediate pass play. This kid has a very bright future, and I love his attitude. I suspect we’ll see him on the field this year, especially if he starts the season weighing 250 lbs.

  3. Knowing Allen’s recruiting filter, the T.J. in Ivy’s initials likely stands for ‘Thank Jesus.’

    1. If Ivy turns into the stud he could be, a lot of IU fans will say thank Jesus Ivy came to IU. A 250 lb TE that played WR in HS could be a real threat to defenses once he adjust to the college game.

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