ST. PETE – Bouncing back from JV and varsity as a sophomore, Gibbs defensive back Jermaine Ivery nearly gave up on football. However, after his teammates motivated him and he made the switch from wide receiver to safety, he put his name out there by shining last season.
Ivery, a 5’9″, 170-pounder is up from his 149-pound frame as a junior and is aiming to get bigger in his senior season. The class of 2017 prospect put up huge numbers by recording 164 tackles (6 for a loss), five interceptions and a forced fumble. He had four games with 20 or more tackles and had double-digit tackles in all but three games.
Ivery had four interceptions in the span of three weeks against Tarpon Springs, Clearwater and Lakewood.
He says he gained a ton of confidence in the 56-36 win over Lakewood on Oct. 16. He had 12 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.
The Gladiators finished 6-5 last season and fought till the end in a 45-44 loss to Jefferson in the 5A region quarterfinal. Ivery had six tackles in that game. He says that this year’s group has more discipline.
“You can’t win games without discipline,” Ivery told Prep Sports Scouting. “We have a chance to go to the championship. We are young. Last year the team was good, but I believe this will be a better team.”
Starting his football career at age 4, Ivery lined up on offense as a wide receiver and quarterback until this past season. He said it was nerve racking initially to play defense, but he switched up his style of play and stepped up for his team.
Ivery plays as a physical safety something he says he feed off of. He played the last few games of his freshman season on varsity recording a touchdown reception at wide receiver. Now, he’s simply trying to have fun out there with his brothers and perfect his craft as a defensive back.
Head coach Jon Thompson enters his second season as the man in charge after leading the Gladiators to a winning record for the first time since 2009. Ivery says he learns a lot from coach Thompson.
“Coach Thompson can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but he’s a good coach. He always tells me to never give up on a play.”
In practices, Ivery matches up with speedy wideout Quandale Inmon, a guy who he says he’s scared to guard at times.
“His speed is legit. If you let him get off the line you’re not going to catch him. He’s going to catch the ball regardless even if you are on him. He’s a good receiver.”
On top of Inmon, a guy who Ivery has been close with on and off the field since 9th grade, he says quarterback Mar’quan Harris and running back/safety Lamar Hardin are two guys he’s built friendships with.
This summer, Ivery started playing 7-on-7 ball for head coach BJ Hall and Team Florida.
“He’s [Hall] a great coach. Things he does for us I can’t thank him more. Coach BJ is a great man and a great motivator.”
Ivery calls his biggest strength his ballhawk ability. He says if you “come my way you’re going to be stomped.” He’s aiming to improve his reaction time this season.
Currently, Ivery holds one offer from Langston University and has also drawn interest from Central Florida.
He says his biggest role model is Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu.
“He’s [Mathieu] always around the ball. I try to model my game after him and I watch all of his highlights.”
Ivery’s ultimate goal is to play college ball and make it the pros. He wants to major in sports medicine in college.
This kid may not have that much experience just yet at defensive back, but he has impressive insticts. He stands out on most plays and finds his way around the ball especially against the run where he excels as a hard hitter.
Jermaine Ivery is on the right track and with another off-season under his belt at safety, he’s in for a big senior campaign. This kid deserves more looks soon. He’s stuck it out through tough times and right now it’s paying dividends.
Favorite players to watch – Tavon Austin, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas
Favorite movies – Baby Boy, Gridiron Gang, The Longest Yard, Remember The Titans, Radio
Favorite TV shows – Lifetime, ESPN
Fun fact about you that no one knows – “I started liking basketball. I play it a little bit in the neighborhood.”
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “Honey Badger”, “Maine”
Game film: Ivery’s Hudl tape
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.