Lil’Jordan Humphrey working to make most of opportunity with Saints

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Lil'Jordan Humphrey
New Orleans Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson on the practice field with rookie Lil’Jordan Humphrey during Organized Team Activities in Metairie, La. (Photo: Parker Waters)

At birth, it seemed like Lil’Jordan Humphrey was destined for stardom. His older brother wanted him to be named after the legendary Micheal Jordan. His mother compromised, naming him Lil’Jordan.

While at Southlake High School (Texas) as a senior, he ran for 1,292 yards (7.2 yard average) and 14 touchdowns. In a sign of things to come, Humphrey caught 57 passes for 876 yards and nine scores.

Texas, Ole Miss, Iowa, Oregon State, Texas Tech, UCF, Wisconsin, California and Washington came calling but Lil’Jordan decided on the Longhorns.

In a bust-out campaign for the big receiver, he tallied 86 catches for 1,176 yards and nine scores in 2018. Humphrey then sacrificed his senior season to test the NFL waters only to go undrafted. A high character person with good film, his his draft stock was torpedoed when his only managed a 4.75 forty time at the NFL Combine. He has since run a sub-4.6 forty.

The New Orleans Saints rookie free agent signee possesses tremendous athletic skills and is dangerous after the catch. The 6-foot-4, 225 pounder can also be dominant in the red zone.

“Growing up, I played running back so I was looking up to Adrian Peterson,” Humphrey explained. “It kind of changed in college. I just watched a lot of people and tried to do as much as I can.”

He returned kickoffs for the Longhorns and understands that the more duties that he can perform, the better chance at landing a spot on an NFL roster.

“I feel like I’m good after catch,” Humphrey said. “I need to work on my routes and playing through contact. I guess saying that I’m physical best describes me style.”

The biggest wide receiver on the Saints’ current roster, Humphrey understands that he is now under the spotlight. He’ll be called upon to block at a high level with his build. “(My blocking) needs a little work, but I’m getting there,” he admitted. “Can’t show much without pads, but once the pads come on I’ll show what I can do.”

Minicamps and OTA workouts in the offseason will not allow Humphrey to show his blocking prowess and desire, but the time will come in training camp.

“I did a little blocking at Texas. I tried to be physical, but I slacked off a little bit (blocking). I can’t slack off here, especially with the great backs that we have here,” Humphrey noted.

When it comes to catching the ball, he understands he will have to consistently use his length and physical skills to make contested catches. With his basketball background, Humphrey sees the similarities between rebounding on the hardwood and being a receiver.

“Being able to go get the ball, boxing out in rebounding. Knowing how to position your body certain ways, I felt like (basketball) helped me a lot.”

On the mental side of the game, Humphrey is adjusting to the complexities of a NFL playbook.

It has been an eye opening experience with the Saints thus far.” The playbook by far, it’s complicated,” said Humphrey. “There are a lot of things to learn, a lot of formations. Once you get it down, it’ll be all right.”

The young receiver says he has been a sponge, carefully noticing everything that veteran receivers Mike Thomas and Ted Ginn, Jr. do. “It’s usually the subtle things, the little things that make a big difference. It’s the everyday things that make them so good. I’m watching them and trying to learn from them everyday. I talk to them as much as I can. ”

Humphrey is not far removed from his days in Austin, so he naturally has a keen interest in and extensive knowledge of the current Texas squad.

On September 7, LSU will face off against Humphrey’s Longhorns in Austin. He feels confident his former teammates can prevail.

“You’re going to see a team that will give their all, go out there and win. I have no doubt about that,” he stated confidently.

Humphrey is looking for Texas to make a strong national title push, hoping his old team can end up in the College Football Playoff final in New Orleans on January 13 inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“They has the talent to do it. Everyone has to buy in and once they buy in, the sky’s the limit,” said Humphrey.

The quarterback for the ‘Horns is junior Sam Ehlinger, a preseason Heisman candidate. His former main target thinks Ehlinger is worthy of the hype.

“Oh yeah, he’s a great competitor, he’ll find a way to win. I believe that he’s going to get better. You can tell from his progression from his freshman to his sophomore year. His jump from sophomore to junior is going to be epic. I think he can be special.”

Humphrey is also impressed at the job head coach Tom Herman has done as he enters year three in Texas. “He’s made a huge difference in the program. They always had the talent, we just needed the right instruction and plan, and he’s brought that.”

New Orleans has become a part of Humphrey’s football life in a hurry. In this past January’s Allstate Sugar Bowl game, Texas upset Georgia in the ‘Dome. But that wasn’t his first encounter with New Orleans.

“I’ve been coming to New Orleans with my family for vacation since I’ve been little. My family always loved to come here. There’s always great food and sight-seeing. There are a lot of good people down here. Great food, great fan base. I’m really enjoying it down here.”

Now it’s up to Lil’Jordan to make the Big Easy his long-term home.

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Rene Nadeau

Rene Nadeau

CCS/Fox Sports/ESPN/WFAN

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…

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