Humphries watching his stock increase

When Florida left tackle D.J. Humphries submitted his paperwork to the NFL Draft advisory committee, his mind was already made up that he would be leaving Florida to start his NFL career.

It was still shocking when his paperwork came back saying that he should return to school. That advice caused some hesitation in the decision, but the junior tackle said it ended up only fueling him more.

He knew that the focus of his draft preparation needed to be gaining weight, but the information from the NFL advisory committee only made that more obvious.

“I knew I was going to have to grind and gain this weight,” D.J. Humphries said.

Humphries closed his junior season weighing 285 pounds. The weight gain was always his focus going into his college seasons, but he had trouble holding it throughout the season. When he started training after Florida’s 2014 season, Humphries got his weight as high as 316 pounds before deciding he didn’t like it that high.

He weighed in at 307 pounds at the NFL Combine, answering the final question NFL scouts had about him potentially going in the first round. He wanted to make sure he kept the weight up for pro day, proving to NFL teams that the weight is here to stay. Now that teams believe it, he’s being talked about as high as the top 20 picks.

“It’s been awesome,” Humphries said. “It’s been an amazing experience. Coming from being told I needed to go back to school to being in the first round, that was my goal. That’s what I was trying to do. It’s amazing to set goals and actually accomplish them.”

The weight gain was about education instead of simply eating more. Humphries said he learned in recent months about the things he should eat. In the past, he’d just eat anything in sight throughout the day in hopes of it adding to the number he saw on the scale.

“When I was in college, my whole thought process was stuffing as many calories in my face as I could, eat a whole pizza before going to sleep,” Humphries said. “I had to learn that I don’t have to do that. I can eat grilled chicken and the right type of pastas. Eat a lot of it and gain the right type of weight.

“Since I got over 300 pounds, I formed this fat boy mentality now. If I don’t eat every 3-4 hours, I get a little irritated.”

One team that has been connected to Humphries a lot throughout the process is the Carolina Panthers. The former five-star recruit made it clear after his pro day workout that he’d love to be drafted by any team, but there’s a special draw to Carolina. Humphries grew up less than three hours from Charlotte, the home of the Panthers, and would love a chance to be close to his family.

"Going home and being able to enjoy my little brother growing up,” Humphries said. “I kind of missed my baby sister growing up because I was here in Gainesville and not home. Me being in Charlotte, that would be awesome. But I’m fine with any of them.”

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