POWDERSVILLE—If you have yet to hear the name “EJ Humphrey,” that will probably change this fall.
The 5’9” 180-pound running back will be playing football for Powdersville Middle School this year, and coaches are already beginning to take notice.
“I’ve had him since he was eight-years-old and his lateral and side-to-side movements are special,” said Wade Hampton High School’s Strength and Conditioning Coach Guy Mosley. “For him to have his body weight at his age is just head-turning. He’s so much above the rest of the other kids, and it is just exciting to watch.”
Eric Junior, better known as EJ, has already begun developing his game.
“He’s played with Greenville County, Tri-County, and Anderson County already,” said Eric Humphrey, EJ’s father. “He was an All-Star with Tri-County, and last year he 42 touchdowns, and 33 two-point conversions in just seven games. He was scoring every three or four times he would touch the ball.”
Mosley says it is Humphrey’s knowledge of the game that puts him head and shoulders above the competition.
“He’s able, at this young age, to read the holes and hit them like you are supposed to as a running back,” said Mosley. “He’s patient, follows his blockers, and can pull away from the younger and smaller guys even though he’s as big as he is. That last person who I’ve seen like that is Blake Hayes (star running back for Wade Hampton High School).”
Mosley says Humphrey is the kind of player that will make an immediate impact on whatever team he is playing for.
“Once he learns to adjust, he can have an immediate impact on Powdersville Middle School,” said Mosley. “Defenses are going to have to key on him because he will be a featured back. Once he gets into the secondary, it’s going to be hard to bring him down.”
While Powdersville is excited to have him, coaches are already wondering what high school he will choose.
“Powdersville was very excited about him coming and playing in this area,” said Humphrey. “The concern was if he was going to go to Wren High School or Powdersville High School, because they both want him really bad.”
Mosley says his potential is even greater than high school.
“Our head coach took a look at his film and loves him,” said Mosley. “This cat is special, and if he stays healthy, and continues on the path that he’s on, he’s could be one of the best to come out of the state and to be ranked in the nation.”
Mosley says Humphrey has quickly made his way onto the radar, and has already received college looks. With family members currently playing NCAA Division I football, Humphrey says that is where his son would like to end up.
“Humphrey has two cousins playing football at the collegiate level (one at Kansas University and one at Coastal Carolina), so he’s always been into football. It’s a passion of his,” said Humphrey. “He wants to continue on, and his dream is to play in the SEC (South Eastern Conference),” said Humphrey. “He works very hard, and has already gained some interest from college coaches.”
While his son has developed much faster than most kids his age, Humphrey says maintaining a healthy father-son relationship has been the most important thing through all of this.
“As a dad, I had to learn how to separate the field from the dad,” said Humphrey. “I try to assist him with anything he needs in football. When we’re on the field, I treat him as a player, and when we’re off the field, it’s strictly a dad and son relationship where, unless he talks about it, we don’t bring up football.”
As for EJ’s aspiration, he may still have a long way to go to reach his final goal.
“I hope to make it to the NFL one day,” said EJ Humphrey
Mosley says he should just take it one step at a time.
“If he continues on the path he’s on, I would expect him to go straight to varsity in high school,” said Mosley. “Right now, he’s as big as our running back at Wade Hampton, and our guy ran for 1,000 yards last year. He’s going to fill the stands in Powdersville.”