When Arizona Cardinals first-round draft choice D.J. Humphries made the decision to leave the University of Florida after his junior season, several factors influenced it.
One of those was the fact that Florida had fired head coach Will Muschamp after four years. The last two seasons, the Gators limped to a combined 11-13 record.
“I love Coach Muschamp,” Humphries told Bickley and Marotta last week on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “That was my guy. He recruited me, I was part of his first class that he recruited at Florida.
“It was a big hit for me when they had to let him go.”
So Humphries moved on to the NFL, while Muschamp stayed in the SEC, taking over as Auburn’s defensive coordinator.
The former head coach has reciprocal feelings about Humphries.
“Number one, you’re going to like having him in the building,” Muschamp told Doug and Wolf Friday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “He’s got a great personality, he’s extremely intelligent and he’s only 20 years old.
“His ceiling is going to continue to grow. This guy’s best football is ahead of him. I think it was a great pick for the Cardinals.”
Humphries started 19 of the 29 games he played in during his time in Gainesville, earning First-Team All-SEC Freshman and Sporting News Freshmam All-American honors in 2012.
Muschamp said Humphries honed his skills in practice, going up against pass rusher Dante Fowler, who was picked third overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, in one-on-ones.
“He and Dante, for three years, went against each other,” Muschamp said. “I tried to change the lineup several times and they both said ‘no, we’re going against each other.’
“That’s two first rounders. So for three years, I don’t know how many times their heads butted, but it was a lot.”