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October 4, 2011

Humphries realizes Army Bowl goal

MORE ARMY BOWL: 2012 U.S. Army All-Americans | Army Bowl announcement tour

Four years ago, D.J. Humphries and his father sat down and came up with three football-related goals.

As a freshman at Mallard Creek High in Charlotte, N.C., the offensive lineman made the decision that one of his three goals was to be named a U.S. Army All-American during his senior year.

On Tuesday, that aspiration became a reality.

"It's a little surreal," Humphries said. "But I mean it was deserved with all of the hard work I put in over the years and all the stuff I've done."

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound offensive tackle was presented with his jersey for the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in a ceremony Tuesday at his high school. For the Florida commit, the entire experience was special and an opportunity to share his high school career with the teammates, friends and family who have supported him.

"It's a big honor having a general come out just to present me with a jersey," Humphries said. "The whole opportunity is such a great honor."

Throughout his recruiting process, Humphries and his father, Dierrias, have been a closely bonded team. Dierrias, who became a father at 15 and sacrificed much of his own athletic and social desires to raise D.J., has been an intricate part of his son's high school career and was there every step of the way when the flurry of interest from colleges began.

But much like his August announcement, the nation's No. 3-ranked prospect viewed Tuesday as a chance to share his triumphs with some of those who may not always get to be a part of his decisions.

Humphries said that idea of giving back was his favorite aspect of Tuesday's festivities.

"Being able to share with my school," he said. "They're a big part of it. If it weren't for my school, I wouldn't have any of this. I wouldn't be in the situation I am without my teammates and my family."

As a five-star prospect and one of the nation's premier high school football players, Humphries had his pick of whichever major all-star game he wanted to play in. But it was that freshman-year conversation with his father that immediately emerged once the offers were made.

"It really wasn't that much talking," he said. "As soon as they offered me I pretty much knew that was the game for me."

Humphries noted the Army Bowl's tradition as a major attraction, but it was the game's namesake that truly won him over.

"They're the people that protect our country," he said. "It was hard to turn down." Dierrias heard about the Army Bowl invitation first. He planned to have Rivals National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell surprise D.J. with the news at the North Carolina Shrine Bowl until the news couldn't hold off any longer.

"He told me Mike couldn't wait," Humphries said.

The nation's top offensive tackle plans to enroll early at Florida and participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7, 2012.

Meanwhile, his Mallard Creek team continues to roll through a season that currently has the Mavericks at 6-0 after easily defeating in-town rival Vance 55-20 on Friday night.

"We put a little smack down on them," he said. "I had a lot of knockdowns and pancakes, so it was good."



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