Florida offensive tackle D.J. Humphries will enter the 2015 NFL Draft, The Gainesville Sun's Zach Abolverdi reported late Wednesday, citing sources.
And, hey, it made sense: Humphries was a five-star prospect considered among the best players in the 2012 recruiting class when he committed to Florida, and still possesses a frame and the nimble feet that are close to the ideal clay for molding a great offensive tackle. Plus, Humphries has been hurt off and on during his three years in Gainesville, wouldn't be playing for the head coach who signed him, Will Muschamp (or, it would seem, lead recruiter D.J. Durkin), in 2015, and the NFL's salaries, even at the lowest levels of the league, dwarf what a college football player receives as compensation.
The growing sense around the program has been that Humphries would turn pro.
But, as of Thursday morning, Humphries himself is disputing Abolverdi's report:
I have NOT made my decision on leaving for the NFL ... Careful what you read . . . Thanks a lot Gainesville Sun!!— D.J. Humphries (@CashOutHump) December 18, 2014
That's a bad look for the Sun, and Abolverdi, no matter whether Humphries eventually decides to go pro or chooses to stay in Gainesville for his senior season, but it might also mean Humphries is weighing his options more seriously than one might expect a player who changed his Twitter handle to @CashOutHump before the 2014 season would.
And though Humphries likely has an NFL future before him based on measurables alone, he's not NFL-ready yet — he needs significant work on his technique, and really ought to continue adding muscle and bulk — and is almost certainly not good enough to go early in the 2015 draft and be likely to make a roster. Humphries said in November that he would seek feedback from the NFL on his draft prospects, but that feedback likely hasn't been delivered yet (typically, it arrives in January); if Humphries has his mind made up now, that's fine, but he's likely working without as full a data set as he could get.
There's also a chance — perhaps a good one — that Abolverdi merely jumped the gun on Humphries announcing his own decision, stealing his thunder. That's very much journalistically defensible, especially with two sources, and Abolverdi's original article has since been edited to include the detail that "the sources spoke to Humphries directly and he made his plans clear to them." Its headline has also been changed, from "Sources: Humphries to go pro" to "Humphries to go pro?"
But it's generally considered poor form in sports media to report on "good news" from players, like commitments or planned NFL Draft entries, without the go-ahead from the subject. And there's not a ton to gain from reporting Humphries's decision without approval, while we've seen essentially the exact drawback to doing so. And Abolverdi is the Sun's lead recruiting writer: It's not as if he doesn't know the unwritten rules.
If Humphries goes pro, as with any player trying to play a savage game for money instead of an education, I will wish him well. If he does, though, Florida will have a thin, green line protecting its quarterback next year, with just eight returning lettermen and two returning players with previous collegiate experience. (Amusingly, one of the only corroborating pieces of evidence for Humphries's departure was a tweet wishing him luck sent by Florida freshman tackle David Sharpe — who becomes the frontrunner to replace Humphries at left tackle when he leaves.)
Restocking his offensive line was always going to be one of Jim McElwain's priorities, but Humphries departing would make it the most important task of his next two months.