Feb 20, 2015 02:47PM
● By Dia
Lil’ Jordan Humphrey stuck out like a sore thumb at Southlake Carroll’s photo day in August just before the 2014 season kicked off.
At 6-foot-5, 195-pounds, Humphrey looked more like a basketball player than a running back. And that’s exactly what he was known for. As a sophomore on the hardwood, Humphrey was a stud, finishing second on the team with 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
On the gridiron, Humphrey was merely potential. In 2013, he contributed 627 yards and three touchdowns in limited playing time behind then senior A.J. Ezzard. This year, he was expected to split carries with Grant McFarlin.
A soft-spoken, somewhat shy individual, Humphrey talked about his goals for the upcoming season. Most of them dealt with helping the team and improving as a runner. He joked that there was nothing “Lil” about him and said he wanted to be a great tall back like Adrian Peterson, “even though I’m taller than him.”
Humphrey was right. Lil’ is just a part of his name. Some of the Dallas-area’s top teams like Coppell, Denton Guyer and Euless Trinity found that out the hard way. Forget splitting carries, Humphrey became the focal point of Southlake Carroll’s explosive offensive attack and established himself as one of the state’s premier ball carriers.
Humphrey finish d the year with 1,817 yards rushing, 283 yards receiving and 32 touchdowns as he helped the Dragons reach the state quarterfinals, where they bowed out to eventual 6A Division II state champion Cedar Hill.
“Lil’ Jordan is the epitome of a team guy. He got bigger, faster, stronger and ran with passion,” said head football coach Hal Wasson. “He also made some big catches for us and was at his best when it mattered most. He’s extremely unselfish and really exemplifi s Dragon culture.”
While most athletes have a small break before entering offseason workouts, Humphrey was back on the basketball court just days after the loss to Cedar Hill. At that point, Southlake Carroll was 3-4 and coming off a loss to state powerhouse Plano West.
“I knew my team needed me, so I wanted to be back right away,” Humphrey said, with the same humbleness he had in the summer and a newfound confidence. “The hardest part was conditioning. I had been playing football, but basketball shape is way different. It took me a little while to get my legs back. But it felt great to be back out there again.”
“He wanted no days off,” added head basketball coach Eric McDade. “He stepped right in and brought that mental edge from the football field. He made a big impact for us right away, and we were glad to have him and some of the other football guys back. He’s having a great year so far.”
Indeed he is. Humphrey, who plays shooting guard, is second on the team in points per game with 12.8 and leads the team in rebounds per game with 4.6. And the scary thing is he’s still finding his groove.
Just three days after suiting up in his final football game of his junior year, Humphrey scored eight points in a thrilling 49-46 victory over Trophy Club Byron Nelson. A couple of games later, Humphrey drilled shot after shot and finished with 17 points in a key 68-58 win over Denton Guyer in the Lions Club Tournament.
With Humphrey back, Southlake Carroll won five out of its next six games and quickly improved to 8-4. Suddenly the Dragons, which are looking to rebound from a playoff-less year in 2013, looked like contenders.
“Lil’ Jordan is a special kid. He really is. He’s a true team player and a great leader for our team,” McDade said. “He’s really made a difference for our team. He came in midseason, but he’s having a tremendous year. He wasted no time getting in the mix. He’s just a terrific athlete.”
Wasson added, “I’ve actually gone over to see him play a couple of times, and he’s done great. In a selective world, it’s great to see him excelling at two different sports and helping two Dragon programs. Being a multi-sport athlete, he trains for not one but two grinding seasons. He’s just fun to watch.”
Southlake Carroll opened district play with a win over Coppell but followed that up with a loss to 7-6A leader Richland. The Dragons fell again a few days later to Euless Trinity despite Humphrey’s 28-point performance. But Humphrey and his teammates responded with three straight victories over Colleyville Heritage, Haltom and L.D. Bell.
Now, the Dragons sit at 13-10 and are tied for second place. The playoffs certainly seem like a strong possibility with Humphrey firing on all cylinders.
“I feel like our team has overcome a lot of early season adversity, and we’re really playing great now,” Humphrey said. “I really like to score and attack and help my team that way. I think I play like Paul George (shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers), well, before he got hurt. But ultimately, my goal is to help the team win district. We just have to take it one game at a time.”
Along with basketball and football, Humphrey has to balance a rigorous academic workload as well as recruiting. Over the last couple of months, Humphrey received full football scholarship offers from Duke, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Washington and others. South Dakota offered for basketball.
Humphrey isn’t sure what sport he plans to play at the next level but is excited he has the opportunity to choose.
“I still have to see what’s best for me,” Humphrey said. “It’s been exciting, but I just have to sit down and talk about it with my parents. Right now, I’m focused on the season.”
Humphrey still has about a year to make a final decision and is sure to rack up plenty of other offers before it’s all said and done. Sometimes, it’s hard to forget he still has another year to go.
“That’s the best news of the day,” Wasson chuckled. “I’m hoping he’ll continue to succeed on the basketball court then get back to us and have a strong finish o his football career.”