Home is where the heart is, and for Joey Ivie, his heart — at least part of it — has been in Gainesville.
That's why the 6-foot-4, 271-pound defensive lineman committed to the University of Florida on Saturday, ending a whirlwind spring of recruitment from more than 20 Division I colleges.
"I've been a Florida fan since I was a kid," said Ivie, who had 53 tackles and eight sacks for Pasco during its run to the state semifinals in 2011. "My dad is a big fan, too, and he wanted me to commit (as soon as I got the offer), but we also wanted to go to a few camps and see what everyone had. And after going to Florida and seeing everything, I knew it was where I was supposed to be. It was the right fit."
Ivie committed to the Gators after participating in a camp hosted on Florida's campus Saturday. He also went to camps at Tennessee, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia before making his decision, but Ivie was also swayed by a few people.
"I was talking with (fellow defensive line commit) Caleb Brantley and he said he wanted me on the line, too, so that gave it a lot of extra appeal," Ivie said. "They have so many good coaches and always the best recruits, so to be a part of that feels great, and I just want to continue tradition there and help win a national championship."
Ivie will also join a former teammate, quarterback Jacob Guy, who will walk on to Florida's program this fall and also prodded Ivie to become a Gator over numerous programs, including USF, FSU and Miami, as well as Ole Miss, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Cincinnati.
"Gainesville has always been like a second home, going to games and I just knew this was the right choice when I made it," Ivie added.
Ivie said he enjoyed the recruiting process and was grateful for all the time and interest other programs and coaches showed him. However, settling his college plans before his senior season was a priority he wanted out of the way before the 2012 season began.
Now, he has a new home in his heart.
"It's such a relief to know where I am going to be after high school that way I can focus on my senior year and winning a state championship at Pasco," Ivie said. "I know where I'm going to be the next four years and I'm happy about that. … It's great to be a Florida Gator. My whole family has been decked out in Gator gear since Saturday, and you better believe I've got a lot of orange and blue to wear."