The one we all know as “No. 8“ has had his fair share of criticism and underwhelming play in his time at The U, but after the Spring Game, cornerback DJ Ivey looks like he is on his way to an improved fifth season. During the Spring Game, Ivey was targeted multiple times, and forced a number of incompletions. Additionally, after the conclusion of spring ball, Ivey was recognized by the staff as one of the Most Improved Players during that time frame.
This week, the coaching staff celebrated several players for their hard work, development, service and toughness throughout spring ball.— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) April 23, 2022
Congratulations to those recognized! A thread: pic.twitter.com/HQXrBATmvu
A Few Seasons to Forget
After an impressive 2019 season where he picked off three passes, 2020 and 2021 were seasons to forget for Ivey. It seemed like he was always to blame for something that happened, and he had numerous bad plays that left ‘Canes fans with their palms in their face. If you’re unfamiliar with his struggles, just looking at the clip below will let you know the player that he was for a short time. Luckily, it seems like those days are behind him.
Ivey gets burnt and barely presents a challenge. One player was responsible for 50% of the points surrendered. Our lack of CB recruiting has left us with few options. Couch and Williams need to see more reps. pic.twitter.com/VtwlyBQaro— Canes Legacy (@CanesLegacy) October 20, 2019
An Impressive Spring Game Performance
During Spring Ball, Ivey looked much improved. The fifth-year senior looks a bit faster, and was able to stay glued to Miami’s WRs throughout the entire game. A player that once had difficulty with allowing separation didn’t allow much through the entirety of the game. Ivey didn’t allow many completions, and made it very difficult for catches to be completed. On these plays below, he was virtually glued to Jacolby George and Keyshawn Smith, making a completion very difficult or unlikely. His improvement is something that the ‘Canes desperately need.
Ivey’s Improvement Comes at the Right Time
With Miami going into the 2022 season, the ACC is as wide-open as it has ever been. This year could be the year that the ‘Canes walk away as ACC champs, but it won’t come without improvement in defending the pass. In 2021, Miami gave up 258 yards per game through the air, ranking 102nd out of 130 teams. The 28th worst pass defense in the NCAA will need to improve if Miami is to have any chance of contending in 2022. Ivey’s improvement, as a fifth-year senior, will go a long way for the ‘Canes.
Ivey forms an elite, experienced cornerback trio with Tyrique Stevenson and transfer Daryl Porter Jr. from West Virginia. The three cornerbacks, in addition to the coaching of Jahmile Addae, should help the pass defense improve. Will Ivey return to his form in 2019? That remains to be seen, but if spring ball is any indication, hopefully he will be a serviceable starter for the ‘Canes in 2022.