Even before the news came late last week that Marquel Wade wouldn't be eligible this season for the University of Arkansas, another rookie receiver was making his move.
Former Hoover (AL) High football and track star Maudrecus Humphrey had a spectacular second week of pre-season camp to vault himself into the possibility of making an immediate impact.
Humphrey (6-3, 185) punctuated that point in Thursday's scrimmage by hauling in a 39-yard touchdown reception on the last snap to cap off a scrimmage in which he had 3 catches for 86 yards.
"It definitely was what I really needed because I'll admit during the first week I was beginning to question where I could really compete with these guys," Humphrey said. "But now I have a different perspective and know that I can really make these plays and compete on this level. I think it was really good for me mentally."
Humphrey, the son of former Alabama legend and NFL player Bobby Humphrey, had 67 catches for 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns as a high school senior as Hoover went 15-1 and won the Class 6A state title.
While he is very proud of his dad's accomplishments, he is intent on making a name for himself.
"That is what I have been trying to do since I got here," Humphrey said. "I am trying to make a name for myself and start my own tradition, my own thing. So far it is going alright and I am just trying to step it up a little more every day. I'm stepping it up and learning the plays and then I should be good to go."
Humphrey chose Arkansas over Mississippi State, Kentucky, Louisville, Nebraska and West Virginia.
He admits the opportunity to catch passes from celebrated Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was a factor in his decision.
"I like catching balls from Mallett because they are really precise," Humphrey said. "They are nice and clean and come hard, but are catchable balls. He has a really good connection with all of the receivers."
Humphrey has found out very quickly that being a college wide receiver is not just about being fast.
"In high school, most of the time I could just run right by people," Humphrey said. "That's not going to happen in college because the DBs can run right with you. They are just as fast as you are if not faster. You've got to put more technique into it now. It becomes more of a technical thing where it comes to releases and routes. Everything has to be perfect and precise or else there is going to be some type of breakdown in communication with you and the quarterbacks."
He feels fortunate to be working with the Razorbacks' older wideouts such as Greg Childs, Joe Adams and Jarius Wright, who have taken the younger wideouts under their wings and are the leaders of what is thought to be the league's best group.
Humphrey and fellow wideouts Julian Horton (6-1, 184) and Javontee Herndon (6-1, 185) are three rookie pass-catchers left vying for playing time with the departure of Wade due to an academic issue.
"They are coaching me, they are coaching all of us," Humphrey said. "They are great guys and we are listening intently because we want to learn from the best. They are working hard to improve themselves and bringing us along so we can be worthy of that title.
"It's been a really great experience and it is important that we learn from them because if they move on, it is going to be up to us," Humphrey said. "We need to be ready now."
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