MUSKOGEE — When Josh Blankenship took over in 2011 as Muskogee's football coach, he had no idea where Tramal Ivy fit with the Roughers.
Ivy was then a sophomore without a true position, but full of athleticism Muskogee needed on the field.
The first attempt was at tight end, where the Roughers hoped to utilize his 6-foot-4 frame and jumping ability already displayed on the basketball court. That ended quickly when Ivy failed to demonstrate the ability to catch the ball.
But then one day he was asked to line up at defensive end and go after the quarterback. The rest, as Blankenship put it, is history.
“He found his niche and got in the game,” Blankenship said. “For a sophomore to be in the game, they've obviously got to be special. So we put him in and he started making plays and it kind of got to the point where not a whole lot of people can block him.”
Ivy has turned into one of the state's top defensive ends and is rated No. 10 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 recruit rankings for 2014.
However, he might still be missing a true position with Muskogee this season. Blankenship said he intends to move Ivy around from defensive end to linebacker to even free safety as part of an unconventional 3-3 scheme.
“I'm one of the fastest guys on the defense so I just scrape off the edge because a lot of teams against us run a sweep,” Ivy said. “They want me scraping the edge because I'm the unblocked man so I can make plays.
“I think it's pretty good because I'm so fast coming off the edge and nobody can really block me. It's helped the team out a lot.”
Moving Ivy around is no surprise. Some of his best highlights are tracking ball carriers down from the opposite side of the field.
Now, it's just about putting him in the best position possible to make a play.
“The way the defense is set up, you're going to have two guys that are unblocked depending on which way the ball's run,” Blankenship said. “Ideally if we're trying to figure out the guy to put in the spot that we have somebody unblocked, we would put Tramal Ivy in that spot.”
Multiple colleges have also taken notice of Ivy's playmaking ability.
He currently has offers from Kansas State, Memphis, Northern Colorado and Washington State. And more could quickly follow, depending on his academics.
His focus remains on this season, where he hopes to make the playoffs for the first time in his high school career while tapping into his vast potential.
“I think he's really going to blossom when he gets to the next level and starts to hone his craft more,” Blankenship said. “He's the real deal. He's a playmaking machine.
“We try to not get in his way and try to just put him in a position where he can make as many plays as possible.”