Next Man Up: Get to Know D.J. Humphries


D.J.’s Past

Dierrias J. (D.J.) Humphries, Jr. was born December 28th, 1993 in Charlotte, North Carolina to teenage parents, Keisha Means (16) and Dierrias J. Humphries, Sr. (15).

D.J. Jr. grew up living with both his mom and his dad separately and he played youth football all the while.  A young Humphries earned nicknames like “Little D,” “Hump” and “Gatorade,” poking fun at his many trips to the sideline for refreshments.

D.J.’s father, a collegiate and Arena football wide receiver, was very involved in his son’s life both at home and on the field.  Despite being a young father, Humphries Sr. imparted empowering wisdom on his young son.

My dad always told me when I was a kid, ‘man, you be yourself, people are going to love you. Everybody else is trying to be somebody else. You be yourself, you may influence somebody to want to be their self too.

Beyond his paternal lessons, Humphries Sr. imparted wide-receiver wisdom.  He taught his son how to get out of breaks, work a slant rout and complete a ladder drill.  This focus on footwork would greatly serve D.J. in later years.

“Things would get heated in those workouts where we wouldn’t even talk to each other on the way home,” Humphries Sr. recalled. “I definitely pushed him.”

D.J. Humphries Jr. developed into the top offensive tackle prospect of his class.  He came out of Mallard Creek High School as a tri-sport athlete in football, basketball, and track and was heavily recruited by major college programs.  D.J. eventually accepted an opportunity to play football for the Florida Gators passing on offers from Alabama and Georgia, among others.

As a Gator, D.J. played in 29 career games with 19 starts. He was named All-Freshman SEC in 2012 and received national attention from NFL scouts for his relentless motor, nasty demeanor and agile footwork.  His strengths were marred by questions of durability as he missed a combined seven games over his sophomore and junior seasons.  Looking through a positive scope, the injuries were not career threatening (MCL sprain).

As we well know, D.J. was drafted in the first round with the 24th overall selection by the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinal’s brass, saw a young man with an unquestioned passion for the game and they didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

D.J.’s Passion

D.J.’s will to play doesn’t stop when the fourth quarter game clock expires, his motor keeps running.  Maybe it was the competitive relationship he developed with his former-player-father or perhaps it’s just intrinsic to his human nature, when D.J. sees a challenge, he bull-rushes it.

When the NFL Draft Advisory Board told the collegiate junior to remain at Florida University for his senior year, he grinned with his larger-than-life D.J. smile and set to work.

Humphries called up EXOS draft training in Pensacola, Florida and hit a 5,000-calorie-a-day diet packed with lean proteins.

“I gained 25, and my gut still got smaller,” Humphries said.

At the NFL combine, he wowed scouts with his 22 pound muscle gain (weighed in at 307 lbs and stood at 6 foot 5 inches) and put on a show with his fancy footwork.

I say many times that we have a tendency to over analyze NFL draft picks.  The more tape you watch, the more holes you find in players. This is the complete opposite for a player like D.J. – Steve Keim

The buzz was getting electric and D.J.’s value continued to rise.  Mike Summers, Florida Gators offensive line coach said “The more people dig into his football instincts, athletic ability and passion, they say, ‘So that’s what he can be. OK, I see it.'”

Steve Keim clearly did his homework and headed the words of D.J.’s former coach.

D.J.’s Potential

Fast forward to the present and the Arizona Cardinals prep for rookie minicamp where each draft selection’s potential will begin to be realized. D.J. will immediately compete for the starting right tackle position with the likes of Bobbie Massie.

D.J. may not be a starter from day one, he may not even be a starter in his first year but

his ceiling is high

and his passion is higher. Many say he could be a 10-year player for the Arizona Cardinals franchise.

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