January 6, 2010

Humphrey Makes a Business Decision

Just a few days ago Dallas Parish Episcopal four-star defensive tackle Eric Humphrey talked about committing to the Texas Tech Red Raiders should the Tech athletic department decide to name interim head coach, Ruffin McNeill, the permanent head coach. However just a few days later it seems the tune has changed dramatically for one of Texas's fastest rising prospects.

And it seems that change has worked out for Oklahoma.

"I'm going to go to Oklahoma," Humphrey said late Wednesday night.

Humphrey, who admits that he hasn't yet told McNeill or inside receivers coach Lincoln Riley, says that after talking with his parents and continuing to observe his situation he was able to make a choice between his top two schools.

"The coaching was a big part of it as well as where the placement is, it was pretty secure, both of those were big," he said. "The whole situation with Tech I was trying to hold out, but my parents didn't feel really safe with the whole situation and neither did I.

"I mean I love coach McNeill and coach Riley but with Oklahoma I can get great coaching and their situation is secure. Also I really like that my parents can come to all of my games."

The more Humphrey talks the more it becomes clear how difficult it will be for him to let Tech know of his decision but what is also clear is that the Sooners, Jackie Shipp in particular, have done a great job giving his parents confidence in sending him to Norman.

"They love the coaching, they like coach Shipp a lot. I mean they love coach Ruff and coach Riley a lot too but they want to come to my games, they've been coming since I was in peewee football and they want a chance to see me play," he said.

And what about for Humphrey himself?

"It was the feeling I got when I went to Oklahoma. Don't get me wrong I had the feeling when I went to Tech, but everything is going right with Oklahoma. When it came down to it Oklahoma and Tech was who it was between and with this whole situation it pushed Oklahoma ahead," Humphrey explained.

The 6-foot-4, 273-pound prospect has already informed Kansas and Arkansas of his decision but admits to stalling on calling Riley about his selection. One assistant he has spoken with though is Shipp who is rarely one to get too animated about anything.

"Oh yeah, they were really happy. Coach Shipp, he said he was happy and he was just really happy and I could tell. He was saying 'I'm excited'," he said.

The nation's No. 196 player overall realizes there is still a possibility that McNeill could be named Tech's head coach or might even be kept as part of another staff however he isn't going to get too wound up about anything beyond his commitment to Oklahoma. And though he doesn't rule anything completely out he did try to explain his feelings towards Tech.

"I feel like it's that for me," he said. "I'm pretty sure this is just what I'm going to do, it's a good choice for my position, my family, and myself.

"The (Sooner) fans should know it's tough to overcome. You meet certain people that have a profound effect on you, they had that kind of effect on me but Oklahoma is the best situation for me."

Like current Sooner center Ben Habern, who Humphrey faced as a sophomore, the big defensive tackle carries the flag for TAPPS athletes across the Lone Star state. The big man can hardly believe how far he has come and realizes the responsibility that comes with his new found recruiting stardom.

"A year ago, I wouldn't even have thought I was having this conversation. I've been blessed to have this opportunity. It's amazing for my family and I to have this opportunity. Not only with myself but I owe so much to my coach, my school, my teammates, everything plays a part in getting to where I am," he said.

"It means a lot. I just want to send a message that not all good players come out of big schools."

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