Two weeks into November, nobody outside the Dallas Parish Episcopal School had heard of Eric Humphrey. But that’s when Humphrey’s high school coach decided to send out the defensive tackle’s highlight film to dozens of colleges.
"When Eric’s highlight reel hit the street,” said Episcopal coach Scott Nady, "he had 12 offers in 24 hours. "It was like a hydrogen bomb.” First offers came from Miami of Ohio and Baylor. Then, the bigger boys, like Arkansas, Clemson, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, where Humphrey eventually committed to earlier this month. "The defensive tackle tradition at Oklahoma is really good,” said Humphrey, referring to Gerald McCoy and Tommie Harris. "They put players in the league. I want to be like that and make the tradition better.” One of the fastest risers up the recruiting rankings this year has been the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Humphrey, who was an unknown up to mid-November. Humphrey didn’t attend any national camps last summer, didn’t send out any junior film and played for a small private high school that’s only been fielding varsity teams for four years. Yet now, Rivals.com ranks Humphrey as the No. 17 defensive tackle prospect in the nation. "He was a late bloomer,” Nady said. "Really didn’t come into his own until his senior year.” Last summer, Humphrey added about 30 pounds to his frame, while substantially increasing his quickness and speed. With that work behind him, he began his senior year with a boom. Three weeks into the season, he was Episcopal’s leading scorer with three fumble return touchdowns. "Being around the ball at the right moment, I guess,” Humphrey said. But Humphrey didn’t show his true mettle until the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools state semifinal against Prestonwood Christian. The week before, he suffered a high-ankle sprain, which kept him on crutches all week. "The doctor said he had a zero percent chance to play,” Nady said.