What if I told you 285 pounds was small? That’s the perception Florida’s new permanent left tackle D.J. Humphries will have to battle this season. Despite the size, Humphries will have one of the most important tasks of any player on Florida’s football team, protecting quarterback Jeff Driskel’s blindside. It’s a challenge he thinks he’s ready for.
“My dad, when I started playing tackle, used to tell me that pressure busts pipes or pressure builds diamonds. The pressure thing has always jacked me up, a little added pressure makes me work a little bit harder,” Humphries said.
Florida lists 13 offensive linemen in their media guide, nine weigh more than the sophomore out of Union, N.C. For comparative purposes, against the best returning left tackles in the SEC: Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews is 305 pounds, Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio is 310 pounds, and Tennessee’s Antonio “Tiny” Richardson is 332 pounds. These are the best anchors in the conference, Humphries, though undersized, hopes to join their ranks.
Gaining weight was an important offseason goal for Humphries, who started three games last year at right tackle weighing 275 pounds. His size made blocking the SEC’s bull-rushers difficult.
“Defending against power was the biggest challenge, just because I was so small last year. Defending against power was the hardest thing I had to learn,” Humphries said. “Now that I have the added size and know how to do it, it helps a lot.”
Strict adherence to good technique is something drilled into offensive linemen from their early playing days. Stay low, drive your feet, shoot your hands, keep them inside. That discipline, is something Humphries brought to the task of gaining weight, something he wanted to do a certain way.
“Doing it the right way, I could have easily added 15 pounds, but it would have been all fat. I wanted to add muscle…I didn’t want to put something fat out there. That’s the biggest thing, I didn’t want to put something sloppy on the field,” Humphries said.
He hopes to add five pounds by the beginning of the season, something Florida’s coaching staff would be pleased with.
No matter how much weight he gains however, he has a motto for the type of body he wants to have.
“Lean and mean.”