By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- When freshman receiver Adam Humphries was a kid, he spent his Saturdays in Death Valley, watching the Clemson Tigers rub Howard’s Rock and run down the hill, something he always dreamed of doing.
Well, Humphries’ dreams came true as he became one of the members of Clemson’s 2011 recruiting class and the Dorman standout has already made an early impact for the Tigers’ as back up to freshman star Sammy Watkins. Last weekend against Wake Forest, Watkins went down with an AC joint sprain and is considered questionable for the Tigers’ game this weekend, giving Humphries his first possible start as a Tiger. Humphries provided the spark that the Tigers’ desperately needed against the Demon Deacons late in the third quarter that helped them to clinch the Atlantic Division title for the second time in three years.
“It feels really good just knowing when Sammy went down, that I’ve been preparing all year to step in if he ever had to go out,” Humphries said. “I feel like I executed the plays and did the best I could to help our team win.”
Before the season started, Humphries was on the bubble as to being red shirted or not, however when his coaches saw just how great of a talent he was during fall camp and how hard he worked, there was no doubt in their minds that he would be able to help the team immediately.
“It’s a big deal that I have a pretty big role on this team, contributing in the way that I do,” Humphries said. “It’s awesome the transition from fall camp knowing that I may red shirt and then coming out here and contributing towards us winning the Atlantic Division.”
Although many fans of the Tigers felt that Humphries would red shirt this season due to the plethora of talent the Tigers’ now have at the receiver position, Humphries was confident in himself during fall camp and knew that if he worked hard enough he’d prove his worth to the team.
“I didn’t expect to red shirt, going into fall camp I knew I just had to do my best and however it would turn out, that’s what it would be,” Humphries said. “I didn’t expect to red shirt, I worked my way to playing this year.”
Knowing that his name may be called to start against NC State this Saturday, Humphries knows that he will have big shoes to fill, as Watkins lead the ACC in receptions and yards per game.
“With Sammy’s talent I can’t promise that I’m going to do the same thing that he can do,” Humphries said. “I just try to play my role and do the best that I can at that position, and I think that I do a pretty good job of it.”
Everyone knew coming into this season that Clemson’s 2011 receiving class would be talented, as it was rated the #1 Receivers class in the nation, however no one could have thought that Watkins, Humphries, and company would have made as big of an impact on the Clemson offense as they’ve had so far this season.
“Our freshman receiving core is really talented,” Humphries said. “The way that we’ve transitioned from high school football to college football so quickly says a lot about us. It feels great to be a part of such a special group and I feel like we’ve already had an impact on this team. I have to give credit to Coach Jeff Scott for making the transition so smooth for us, he’s helped us out a lot as far as learning the plays and the offense is similar to what a few of us ran in high school so that’s helped out a little bit too.”
Although the Tigers’ have already reached their goal of securing the Atlantic Division Championship, Humphries believes that they still have a lot to play for in the upcoming weeks.
“We want to win out this season,” Humphries said. “We want to finish with 11 wins in the regular season, we have a lot to accomplish still. A lot of our seniors have played a big leadership role for us and have kept us motivated and focused.”
With the division being clinched, many of the national broadcasters believe that Saturday’s game at NC State will be a trap game for the Tigers’ as they look ahead to playing their instate rival South Carolina the next week, however Humphries promises that the Tigers are not looking ahead.
“No there’s no concern about a trap game,” Humphries said. “We’re focusing solely on NC State like it’s a Championship game for us, we’re going to play the best we can against the WolfPack.”