Opportunity Time For Auburn Walk-on

Versatile Chris Humphries is trying to break into the playing rotation as an Auburn fullback.

Auburn, Ala.--You would be hard-pressed to find a member of the 2011 Auburn football team who has lined up at more positions than Chris Humphries has.

The 6-2, 225-pound senior from Somerville is seeing action at fullback this spring and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn says the walk-on should be able to contribute at that position this fall because of his blocking ability.

So how does the walk-on like his latest role with the Tigers? "I actually love it," says Humphries, who saw practice time there last year after also lining up at defensive end, linebacker and tight end.

"This year I?really understand the plays so I can really execute out there at fullback," he says.

With Eric Smith, the returning starter at the position, dismissed from the squad over the winter, the opportunity is there for someone to step up at the position. Humphries is trying to be the right guy at the right place at the right time as he competes for playing time with redshirt freshman Ladarious Phillips.

In Auburn's first scrimmage of the spring, Humphries was his usual full speed ahead self and showed he will be physical at the position, which is what the coaches want to see.

"I was happy with myself," he says of the first scrimmage. "There are always some things you can pick up on. Of course, our pace is important and I have to work on my conditioning, but overall I did really well."

Commenting on the next scrimmage, he says, "It went pretty good. I did mess up on one block. I ducked my head."

An excellent player in high school, he played tight end and middle linebacker and saw limited duty as a running back. "If I played fullback it was just some special plays--short yardage, goal line or something like that," Humphries recalls. "Most of the time I?played tight end."

Humphries says he can see the rebuilding offense making strides since the first day of spring practice, but adds, "Of course, we have a lot more to go. I am really looking forward to getting toward the summer and continuing to work and in the fall I think we are going to be real good."

With five players kicked off the team this year, the chances of walk-ons being put on scholarship have increased substantially. Coach Gene Chizik says he likes to reward deserving players who he says are doing it "for free" by presenting them with scholarships whenever possible.

Humphries says it would be exciting to hear his name his name called for one of those spots when they are announced to the team, which usually happens in August at the start of a new academic year.

"I need a scholarship," he says. "I?really would like a scholarship. The only thing I can do is work hard every day I can."

Humphries notes that he is working on adding weight as he prepares for his senior season. "I am down a little now at 225, but by fall I will easily be up to 235 to 240. I need to start eating a lot more. I will pick that up as soon as I can."

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