The Hoover (Ala.) Bucs expect to be in the 6A state championship game every season, but winning it has been a tough task of late. Before Friday, not a single player on the current roster had enjoyed the feeling of winning that final game in the Super 6 Championships.
That all changed on Friday as Hoover routed Opelika (Ala.) 31-0 with a dominant effort on both sides of the ball. Elation was shared among the team and its fans at Jordan-Hare stadium in Auburn, especially considering the Bucs' recent history of making it to the final before stumbling.
"It feels really good, being a state champion after last year….I feel I didn't play as well as I could have," 2014 five-star Marlon Humphrey admitted. "This year I feel I played pretty well, so I'm real excited."
Humphrey, who seldom sees any passes his way, was able to make a game-changing interception in the first half in which he not only snagged the ball but returned it 42 yards and nearly for a score. Hoover scored on the very next play.
"I was baiting the quarterback a little bit, but once I saw arm-action I broke on the ball," he said. "I just got to wait on my opportunity."
That notion of waiting is something Humphrey has gotten accustomed to this season since few quarterbacks elect to test the No. 2 cornerback in the class of 2014. Even still, he got his hands on two passes in the big win Friday night, dropping an easy interception a series before making the momentum-shifting play.
It's plays like Humphrey's near pick-six that make him such a sought after talent at 6-foot, 180 pounds. He has the physicality to play cornerback at an elite level to go along with the speed and hips to run with SEC wide receivers. College coaches all over America have taken notice for some time, but the junior is beginning to narrow his recruiting focus.
"I really like South Carolina's coach, I haven't been to Mississippi State yet and I've been Face-booking the Florida coach. I'm going to try to get to some of those schools."
With the in-state Crimson Tide, the one hour ride from Hoover to Tuscaloosa is something the son of former ‘Bama running back Bobby Humphrey made a habit of this fall.
"I've visited Alabama probably four or five times this year," said Humphrey, who wears the same No. 26 his father sported in college and later in the NFL. "It's a good atmosphere, great coaching staff. It would be a great place to play, if that's where I chose."
The five-star doesn't have a timetable for a decision at this point in the process.