Thursday, July 11, 2013
Gator Breakdown: D.J. Humphries
By Michael DiRocco
During the summer, GatorNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Florida roster -- excluding the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class -- in our Gator Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Quinton Dunbar, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 97 Brad Phillips.
After serving as a backup last season, D.J. Humphries will be the starter at left tackle for the Gators in 2013.
Expectations for 2013: The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Humphries steps into the starting job at left tackle, replacing Xavier Nixon. It’s an instant upgrade, even though Humphries has only started three games in his career, two of which came as an extra offensive lineman in the Gators’ jumbo package. Humphries is very athletic and has good feet but is still a bit undersized. He still hopes to gain another 15-20 pounds before the season begins.
Best-case scenario in 2013: Humphries showed up last season at 250 pounds, and that’s the main thing that kept him from beating out Nixon. He just didn’t have the bulk or upper body strength to handle the bigger ends he’ll face in the SEC. He’s put on 35 pounds and has gotten much stronger. He showed that off in the spring, when he more than held his own against Dominique Easley and Jonathan Bullard. Humphries’ strength is his athleticism and his agility and the coaching staff is expecting him to develop into an All-SEC left tackle pretty quickly. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll still solidify a position that was a weakness for the Gators in 2012.
Worst-case scenario in 2013: There are a lot of expectations on Humphries and the coaching staff is pleased with his progress, but he still has to prove he can get the job done. There’s nothing to indicate that he can’t, but there’s still a little bit of uncertainty. And the Gators could be in real trouble if he can’t. His backup is junior college transfer Trenton Brown, although UF could move either Chaz Green or Tyler Moore -- both of whom are competing for the starting job at right tackle -- to left tackle. That would put a serious dent in the already slim depth along the line.
Future impact: It’s hard not to get excited about Humphries when you watch him play because he has the look of a dominant offensive tackle. He could man the spot for the next three seasons, which should help solidify the passing game because quarterback Jeff Driskel would no longer have to worry about his blind side.