Despite a deep family history of playing the running back position, 6'5 Texas Longhorns signee Lil'Jordan Humphrey will transition to wide receiver in Austin and may even have a future as an H-back or tight end.
Listed at 210 pounds by Texas on National Signing Day, Humphrey added 10 pounds of muscle by late April and could conceivably gain another 10 pounds by the time that fall camp begins. A long, lean athlete, Humphrey's focus on basketball helped keep his weight down, but now that he's had a chance to spend more time in the weight room, the results have been quick and substantial, as he's gained 20 pounds since the football season ended.
The current plan is to play him at outside receiver, a position currently occupied by the most talented receivers on the team -- sophomore John Burt and freshman Collin Johnson -- but if Humphrey reaches 230 pounds or more, he'd likely have to move back closer to the football.
There's certainly a need for a pass-catching threat at those positions after a long run without a seam-stretching option there, but there are always questions about how well players can transition to accepting and mastering the challenges posed by blocking assignments against big, physical opponents.
However, in watching Humphrey's highlights at running back, one thing that stands out is his willingness to lower his pads and attempt to run over defenders, so there's a certain amount of physicality to his game that could be highly beneficial if he does grow into a tight end.
And Texas head coach Charlie Strong noted on National Signing Day that when he went to see Humphrey play basketball prior to his commitment in late January, he had to yell at his future player to shoot the ball more often, evidence of Humphrey's unselfishness -- he's not a guy with the diva attitude so common among wide receivers.
Regardless, the most important thing is to ensure that any added weight doesn't negatively impact Humphrey's best quality -- the agility and elusiveness that allowed him to gain more than 3,000 yards and score 33 touchdowns during his junior and senior seasons as the primary ball carrier for state power Southlake Carroll.
Just how special is that agility? Consider that Humphrey ran a 4.16 shuttle time at the Dallas The Opening Regional camp in 2015, a remarkable time for a player with his height.
After working in a hybrid role that split Humphrey out at wide receiver more often as a senior, the transition to a full-time pass-catching role should be easier for the consensus high three-star prospect. In 2015, he caught 57 passes for 876 yards and nine touchdowns, and while his route-running ability still needs some refinement, the experience gained as a senior help his odds of contributing early.
The battle for playing time won't be easy and the lack of senior outside receivers on the team means that Humphrey may not figure into the rotation until he's had enough time to gain the weight necessary to crack the much more shallow depth chart at tight end.
When he does get playing time, whether it's at wide receiver or tight end, Humphrey's agility and ability to high point the football in traffic should make him an effective target. And based the fact that Humphrey scored two game-winning touchdowns last season, he's a guy who will be at his best in the most crucial moments of close games.