As a prominent member of the 2022 recruiting class, Florida Gators cornerback commit Julian Humphrey was the first glimpse into the type of prospects Jules Montinar would target for the defensive backs room.
After committing on May 27, Humphrey officially visited Florida on the weekend of June 11, seemingly confirming his previous feelings about the program that prompted him to announce his pledge to UF, stating, "I already feel at home."
With the hectic season of recruiting affairs slowing down in the closing days of June, AllGators has finally broken down the class's headlining act with a scouting report detailing the aspects of Humphrey's game that draws the staff to him.
In an effort to rekindle the former glory that Dan Mullen played a vital role in during the Gators championship runs in the mid-to-late 2000s, Florida hired their former offensive coordinator to take over the reins in November of 2017.
Since his time began as head coach, significant improvements have been made regarding Florida’s overall success. However, the championship runs of the past have alluded Mullen early on in his return to Gainesville.
Playing a major factor in the inability to get over the hump has been Florida’s recruiting, namely missing out on the component of track-level speed that once separated UF from the pack.
In an effort to bring back the “speed kills” mantra to the blue and orange, Humphrey sits as one of the first dominos to fall.
As a dual-sport athlete, Humphrey recorded a 10.55 100-meter dash in track as a junior, as well as a 4.34-second 40-yard dash according to his HUDL page, blazing speed for someone his age. Translating directly to the football field, Humphrey shows little issue running with faster receivers down the boundary and the ability to recover when he does get beat off the line of scrimmage.
Utilizing his speed with consistency, Humphrey has seen time toting the rock for Clear Lake (Houston, Texas), showing considerable burst and top-end speed to run away from would-be tacklers, suggesting big plays waiting to happen if he gets his hands on the ball from an opposing quarterback while at Florida.
Despite improvement being needed where lateral quickness and change of direction are concerned, Humphrey is the example of cornerbacks Montinar and company will look to obtain going forward.
Excellent ball skills
The number one thing the new secondary staff has harped on since taking over the backend has been the propensity to make plays on the football. Evident with the way they have recruited, a ball-hawking secondary is in store for the Florida Gators in the future.
Accounting for 15 total pass breakups, two interceptions, one forced fumble and a touchdown in two years at the varsity level, Humphrey exemplifies a knack for being disruptive as a defender.
Seeing a lot of man coverage at the high school level, Humphrey has shown on numerous occasions he can win one-on-one battles against adequate talent, making instinctual plays on the ball in the process.
Staying attached to the hip of his assignment with ease given his aforementioned speed, Humphrey works well to disrupt the routine receptions of receivers. Working through the pass catcher's body with his long arms, Humphrey finds ways to knock away balls no matter how well they are thrown.
When playing against shirt to intermediate routes, the Gators commit is able to read the quarterback’s eyes efficiently, resulting in the interception returned touchdown on his résumé.
It’s hard to find players as technically sound as Humphrey — moving very fluidly as a coverage man and mirroring the footwork of receivers nicely — when it comes to breaking on the football, with a plethora of young athletes dominating off pure athleticism alone.
However, Florida has done just that and it could pay dividends when Humphrey sees the field after a year or two of further development in the UF system.
Humphrey is not one of the defensive backs that shies away from contact.
Unlike other corners, Humphrey has shown a willingness to make plays when working downhill against the run.
Packing an initial punch at the point of attack, Humphrey tackles well fundamentally, wrapping up bigger ball carriers just above the ankles to limit them from churning their feet for more yards.
On top of that, Humphrey is a slippery defender for wide receivers to block, consistently swiping the outstretched arms of the wideouts to disengage and work upfield towards the football.
Tallying 24 tackles and one tackle for loss in 2020, the talented corners set the edge well, showing he is a multi-dimensional piece in anchoring down his side of the field.
The Gators defensive back room was a tumultuous group in 2020.
Resulting in the complete overhaul of the coaching staff, Florida has put a concerted effort into replenishing the room with talent. With Humphrey being excellent in a number of facets of the game, Florida gets a fantastic start into their rebuild.
Adding a player the caliber of Humphrey fixes a number of issues seen last year with falling out of assignment and losing one on one battles.
If his high school film is any indication, Humphrey projects to become a staple of the Gators defense in due time.