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January 21, 2014

A Father's Perspective






























Bobby Humphrey went through the recruiting process long before his son Marlon Humphrey, five-star cornerback from Hoover High School in Ala., became one of the top prospects in the country.

Bobby Humphrey signed with the University of Alabama and was an All-American running back in Tuscaloosa. His older son, Maudrecus, signed with Arkansas in the 2010 class.

Marlon's recruitment has been a little different. He's been on the recruiting map since he shined in his first game for Hoover High School in 2011 against South Panola High School in Miss.

"You know it's kind of like you been through it as a player," Bobby Humphrey said on the Baron & Bone recruiting show on Monday evening. "You know my oldest son, Maudrecus, went through it three years back. So it's kind of like we kind of got some experience on what to expect and how to handle it.

"So for my wife and I, it's been fairly easy you know because it seems like we had a course of Recruiting 101 already. We are just doing it with our second child.

"You know the thing about it that I enjoy getting a chance to kind of sit back and listen. Things that I didn't really pay much attention to when I was being recruited when I was 17 or 18 years old, but from a parent's perspective you look at things a little bit different.

"You know my wife and I look at it in terms of what kind of things the school is going to provide for him education-wise, what kind of support team he's going to have, and all that kind of stuff which is very, very important to us.

"We gain, well I shouldn't say we, I gain about 10 to 15 pounds throughout the thing. You know I'm never turning down anything. When it's time to eat I eat."

Humphrey talked of the differences between Marlon and Maudrecus' recruitment.

"I tell you the biggest difference, is when we sat down, I guess it's been three years ago. Marlon was in the first game when he was a sophomore. It kind of put him on the radar you know pretty quick. You were fortunate enough to be there and see it. unfold. You were one of the first ones who kind of got a visual on the caliber player he could be.

"The difference is that Maudrecus didn't even play football his sophmore year. He started being recruited pretty late in the game and just did not end up being as highly recruited. He was just a three-star where Marlon jumped off the charts fairly quickly.

"We got the same amount of letters, but we started getting a lot more attention early for Marlon, so this has been a three year process. It's getting down to the point to where it gets a little tiresome because you're doing it for so long. For my wife and I it's been almost a five year process because of Maudrecus and now Marlon. It can get a little overwhelming, and you start to get a little tired."

Marlon's parents have taken a backseat while allowing him to enjoy the ride. They will join him on official visits before the signing day decision. The point will come soon to discuss his options which includes co-favorites Alabama and Florida State.

"We really haven't discussed it," Humphrey said. "We haven't really sat down and discussed anything yet. We're trying to wait until the final week and then we will make a decision."

Bobby Humphrey had a storied career at Alabama. He also played in the NFL for the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins. He is now accustomed to seeing former players on the recruiting trail he met or played against.

"Well you know some of them I played against, some I knew about, some knew about me, and some I watched playing out there," he said. "I followed Deshea Townsend (Mississippi State defensive backs coach) pretty closely because he wore the number 26 when I left there (Alabama), and he played in the NFL for a number of years.

"You got guys like Jeremy Pruitt (UGA defensive coordinator) who played at Alabama that's coaching now, and Jimbo (Fisher, FSU head coach) who coached here in Birmingham. I kind of knew him from back in the day.

"Some of the guys I played against like (Rodney) Garner over at Auburn. We had some pretty good battles back in the Iron Bowl when it was the true Iron Bowl where we played it on a neutral field at Legion Field.

"The thing about recruiting, I would say as a father, has been being able to kind of touch base with the guys I knew back then and who knew me that I followed. It's pretty interesting how the football circle works.

"Guys that usually play are the guys that usually end up being coaches. Guys that you follow and that you know about and you really, really know each other. Even if you don't know each other you know each other just from the fact that you follow each other. That's pretty interesting how that fraternity works. I've had a good time meeting, sitting down and talking with guys reminiscing about, you know, the past, and what happened with the NFL.

"I can remember this weekend when we were down in Tallahassee, one of the guys who played on the 49ers said, 'I can remember when we played the Denver Broncos back in the day in Super Bowl XXIV, and we just beat them bad 52-10.' I said, 'Yeah, I played on that team. Now hold on'. Then we started catching up. You know you start talking about and guys realize. I start realizing I'm not far removed from the game. That's the neat thing about it."

His son, the state's No. 1 prospect, has kept his focus on the football field and track. He is nationally known in both sports. The Humphreys wanted him to enjoy his final year.

"I told Marlon after the state championship game (2012) and we went through when his track season, I told him it was going to be one of the best summers of his life," Humphrey said. "Flying over to the Ukraine. I think before he did that he went up to Chicago (Rivals Five-Star Challenge) which was a big deal. He wanted to try and fit the Nike Opening up in Oregon, but he wasn't able to do that because of track.

"I think his greatest experience was being able to go over to Ukraine and stay 12 days over there competing against athletes all over the world which was very, very fun for him. They didn't have all these things when we came along. My wife and I, we just enjoy the fact that he's been able to go. And most importantly, he's been mature enough with getting on flights and knowing how to use his passport.

"I didn't get a passport until I was 25. The only reason I got one was because we played a game back in the day. We went over to Japan and played Seattle Seahawks in the exhibition game. That's my third year in the league. I was already in the NFL. Marlon was 16 when he was doing all this traveling. So it's been fun to watch.

"It's been exciting for Barbara and I to be able to see him mature and develop and knowing we can speak in confidence about him taking trips, behave and do the right thing. He continues to do the things we tried to teach at an early age. That's been the most exciting thing to watch him and be able to succeed. He didn't win in World, but he got second, but he ran his personal best. So it was a good experience for him."

The Humphrey family can be described as the first family in the state of Alabama for track and field. Marlon has Olympic dreams in mind. His sister, Breona, is a former state champion in the 400m and on the UAB track team. His mother has held the UAB 400m record for 25 years. Bobby also displayed his speed by chasing down his wife.

"You got money on mom?," Bobby said after he was asked if his wife is the fastest in the family. "Mom is pretty fast, but you got to realize now I caught mom. She's married to me. So there you go right there."

Humphrey concluded the interview on Monday night.

"I look forward to finishing up the process, and I look forward to a bright future for not just Marlon, but all five Humphreys," he said. "We have been able to enjoy the blessings of God and what he has given us."

The Baron & Bone SEC recruiting show is aired on Tide99.1 in Tuscaloosa on Monday nights at Bob's Victory Grille from 7-9:00 p.m. (CST). You can also download the app, radio pup, or go to Tide991.com to listen live to the show.

Twitter: AndrewJBone


Trish Bradle contributed to this report.


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