This article appears in the official Clemson vs. SC State Game Program, which fans can purchase at the game Saturday.
By Hannah Burleson // Clemson Athletic Communications
Adam Humphries grew up watching and cheering for the Clemson Tigers on Saturdays, although he never imagined he would be playing for the program he loved so dearly.
Until his junior season at Dorman High School in Spartanburg, S.C., Humphries thought he wanted to play basketball in college, though a few schools were showing interest in him as a two-sport athlete.
Head Coach Dabo Swinney came to see Charone Peake and Dorman play Hillcrest High School in a basketball game, and everything changed when Swinney noticed the athleticism Humphries displayed on the hardwood.
“I think I nailed a couple three-pointers that game,” chuckled Humphries.
Within the next few months, Assistant Coaches Billy Napier and Jeff Scott were watching Peake and Humphries on the gridiron in Dorman’s spring game. The calls from Clemson started coming in and Humphries knew that playing for Clemson could actually be a possibility.
“As soon as Clemson showed some interest in me, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” said Humphries. “I knew Charone was really interested in Clemson and I wanted to play with him. The team was on the rise and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
Humphries and Peake’s friendship is something special, dating back to their youth days.
“A lot of people don’t know it, but Charone and I were in the same kindergarten class,” he said. “We used to race around the playground together and I’ve had a strong relationship with him all my life. It’s awesome to have played on the same field with him all of my career.
“In high school, I covered him a lot as a defensive back and now that I get to block for him and make plays with him, it’s pretty cool.”
Before Humphries enrolled at Clemson, Napier departed as offensive coordinator. But it was not long before Humphries’ mind was put at ease.
“My parents and I were concerned, not knowing if the new offensive coordinator would still use me like Coach Napier said they would, because Tyler Grisham was successful in Coach Napier’s offense and I wanted to fill that role.
“Coach (Chad) Morris called as soon as he got the job, told me he liked what he saw from my film and I was quickly reassured I would get some good playing time in his offense.”
Though Humphries grew up only an hour down the road, college life and football at the next level still brought many adjustments. He spent his last two high school football seasons playing cornerback and was in a slower offense.
“Coach Scott told me from the beginning they were interested in me at wide receiver, and that was something that interested me, being able to play on the offensive side of the ball,” said Humphries.
“Before coming to Clemson, I had never played in a fast-paced, no-huddle offense, so that was a big change. We did no-huddle in high school, but not really up-tempo. It was a big adjustment having to get back to the line quickly, especially after running a long route.”
However, amongst all the changes and uncertainties, Humphries still had Peake to lean on.
“Having Charone here with me definitely made it easier since neither of us are very talkative guys,” admitted Humphries. “I had someone there to talk to and rely on, and we held each other accountable.”
Humphries embraces his position now and still remembers the youngster who grew up idolizing the Tigers.
“Until my junior year, I never even imagined getting to play for Clemson and play in Death Valley,” stated Humphries. “It’s a huge honor and it’s been awesome getting to play here. I remember coming to games here, getting wristbands and asking for autographs, and its crazy to be in their shoes now.”
Humphries looks no further than his fellow wide receivers to find his best friends on the team and believes this year’s wide receiving corps is special.
“I think this is the closest group of receivers I’ve been a part of during my time at Clemson,” said Humphries. “Everyone is focused, trying to win games.”
Humphries has embraced the leadership role that comes along with being a senior.
“All the new guys came in looking for someone to lead and that’s what me, Daniel (Rodriguez) and Charone are here for, to make sure we set that good example.
“It’s crazy to think I’m a senior and it does come with a lot more responsibility. Sometimes at practice, the coaches come up to us and say, ‘this is your team, this is your group, get them in the right mindset today.’ I have to take ownership of that and push my guys as a leader.”
In fact, Humphries was pushed into a leadership role quicker than he expected when Rodriguez reached out to him in the summer of 2012.
“When Daniel got the offer and decided to come here, I was the first player he messaged and I helped guide him along, taught him some plays and took him under my wing.”
Now, the two are inseparable and the best of friends. The senior has found himself helping an unlikely person recently as well…Grisham.
The former Tiger (2005-08) is back as a video graduate assistant after spending some time playing in the NFL. Humphries is used to being compared to Grisham and does not mind it one bit.
“It’s an honor to be compared to someone who has been here as an awesome receiver and played in the NFL,” said Humphries. “It’s something I aspire to do. People always compared me to him since we have a similar build.”
Grisham averaged 33 receptions per year for his four years, while Humphries has averaged nearly the same total. Humphries even wears the same #13 jersey that Grisham suited up in.
“It’s nice to have him back in the program,” stated Humphries. “I talk with him every once in a while and sit down and pick his brain to see some of the things he has gone through. I’ve even had to help him with some of our offensive plays.”
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