The Florida Gators will lose a fourth junior early to the NFL Draft.
The Gainesville Sun reported late on Wednesday night that junior left tackle D.J. Humphries will join Dante Fowler Jr., Tyler Moore and running back Matt Jones will in foregoing their senior seasons and declare for the draft following Florida’s final game in the Birmingham Bowl.
Humphries appeared in all 12 games as a freshman in 2012 — including three starts (South Carolina, Missouri, Louisiana). He showed great promise as a freshman, regularly playing in Florida’s heavy run package. Humphries played in seven games as a sophomore (six starts) before a knee injury ended his season early.
Heading into his junior season, Humphries was once again named the starting left tackle. Humphries started against Eastern Michigan to begin the season but an injury would force him to miss the next two games. He would return to the lineup against Tennessee and start the final eight games of the season.
Humphries’ departure gives the Gators just eight offensive linemen on the roster and Florida currently only has three prospects committed (Mike Horton, Tyler Jordan, Brandon Sandifer) in this recruiting cycle.
Freshman David Sharpe filled in for Humphries at left tackle at times and he will likely be the frontrunner to replace Humphries full-time next season. Redshirt freshman Rod Johnson is also a candidate to play left tackle for the Gators next season. Johnson played right tackle and showed a lot of promise for the Gators in his first year of action.
Humphries draft stock will be questioned early on. His injury history will be a red flag to NFL teams and he’ll need to have a good showing in his interviews with prospective teams. One thing Humphries has going for him is that the NFL is a quarterback driven league and teams are always looking for agile pass-blockers to protect the quarterbacks that they invest in.