Miami Hurricanes cornerback DJ Ivey drafted by Cincinnati Bengals in final round

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Hurricanes cornerback DJ Ivey battled through an often bumpy career at the University of Miami.

But no matter the circumstances, he persevered, refusing to give up during hard times, staying dedicated to UM and keeping his lifelong dream of making it to the NFL intact.

On Saturday, the dream became reality when Ivey, from Florida City, was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 246th overall pick in the seventh and final round.

Ivey became the third Hurricane chosen in the 2023 NFL draft after fellow corner Tyrique Stevenson on Friday was drafted 56th overall in the second round and tight end Will Mallory went earlier Saturday to the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round (162nd pick).

Ivey, a long, thick-bodied, 6-feet, 189-pound corner who was criticized in previous years for occasional busts, but also impressed with some blanketing, hard-hitting defense, played five seasons for the Hurricanes. He started 32 games after his 2018 freshman season (in which he primarily played special teams in 11 games). This past season, Ivey started all 12 games, finishing tied for sixth in total tackles, with 38. He had two interceptions, five pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The South Dade High alum also led the Canes with three interceptions as a sophomore in 2019.

“I did my best, gave it my all,’’ Ivey said on March 27 at UM’s Pro Day, when he ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, had a 39-inch vertical jump, broad-jumped 10-feet, 6-inches and did 12 bench-press reps. “Everyone’s dream is to get drafted into the NFL. But regardless of that — no draft, get drafted — I’m going to make the best of my opportunity. That’s all I need, an opportunity.”

Ivey said that any team that wants him will “get a baller on the field, off the field a good guy, a good dude, do everything that he needs to get done. You got something good coming in your hands if you choose me.”

He conceded that it “has been a long, five years — a grind, honestly.’’

“Different coaches coming through, different people, different players.’’

But Ivey was never a complainer and said he stayed focused. He praised the Hurricanes program for developing him on and off the field and teaching him “how to be a grown man’’ and “a gentleman — knowing how to be polite, going to class on time, those little things [that] matter in the real world.”