For the next few months, GatorCountry.com will be previewing the players that will make up the 2012 Florida football team as we lead up to the season.
Each day, we’ll count off a scholarship player until the season officially arrives on Sept. 1 with a home date against Bowling Green.
Today, we take a look at freshman offensive tackle D.J. Humphries.
Humphries was the crown jewel of Florida’s 2012 recruiting class, a consensus five-star prospect in high school and a U.S. Army All-American.
He started on the offensive line as a freshman in high school and did not allow a sack during his entire high school career. He enrolled early after helping lead his team to a 13-1 record and a state semifinals appearance.
Humphries quickly worked his way onto the two-deep in spring practice, playing mostly at left tackle on the second-team unit. He played well and could contribute as a true freshman.
At 6 foot 6, 272 pounds, Humphries would ideally add some weight this offseason to put himself in a better position to play against some of the more powerful defensive ends in the league.
Though his potential is clear – Humphries is more developed from a technique standpoint than most true freshmen – he still has a lot of work to do. While his footwork is good for a freshman, he had issues this spring with the quicker defensive ends beating him around the edge.
The biggest positive Humphries has shown so far has been his hand placement. He does an excellent job getting his hands inside opposing linemen’s pads and leveraging them. His biggest issue so far is just putting himself in the position to shoot his hands into place.
When he does get his hands inside the defender, Humphries is exceptionally strong controlling them with his upper body. He can really swing linemen where he wants them to go when he gets his hands inside.
Humphries will need to add a little more power before he’s fully ready to play in the SEC. While he gets good leverage, he was bull-rushed too often this spring by the more powerful linemen on the team.
What to Expect
Barring injury, Humphries will definitely play as a true freshman. He is a clear cut below the top three offensive tackles on the team, who are all in the mix to start.
However, after that Humprhies appears on level pegging at worse with everyone else vying for time at tackle. He quickly moved into the second-team unit in spring practice, and Florida’s coaches don’t appear to be wasting any time getting their future star tackle into the mix.
Assuming Humphries makes at least some weight gain this offseason, he’ll be in an excellent position to get a lot of playing time when the team has a lead or needs an extra body in there due to injury or just for a breather.
Humphries showed enough this spring that it’s very likely we’ll look at his bio a year from now and see a guy who played in every game.