It's not often these days when one of the nation's top players, in this case Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek offensive tackle D.J. Humphries, names a final five in order as early as July for a decision not expected for months. But Humphries, a 6-foot-5, 265-pounder ranked as the No. 3 player in the country, has done just that.
"In order, they are Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, South Carolina and Clemson," said Humphries, the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle. "I've done a lot of research on these schools, visited each one and have a good feeling about each. I planned to get it down to around five by the end of the summer and I'm happy with these choices."
Humphries talks about each of his top five.
"With Florida, they are a hungry coaching staff and they really want to get back to where they were and I can feel that. When I talk to the coaches, I can see they want to prove that Florida is still on top. I speak to Verducci at least once every couple of weeks and we have a strong bond. It's also nice to know that Xavier Nixon went down there from Carolina as an offensive lineman and says great things. It's not a difference-maker, but Xavier and I are boys and it's good to know how he adjusted. I've only been down there once, but I have my only official visit set up with them for their game against Alabama the weekend of Oct. 1."
"Tennessee I've seen the most of any school, I've been there five times. I planned two of those trips and the others just happened where my sister had a couple of dance recitals near there and we took a family vacation near there as well. Coach Joseph and I get along very well and they are like Florida, they are hungry to get back to the top. I always seem to be near Knoxville for some reason."
"Auburn is obviously a great program and the defending national champs and it's like one of two pro teams in Alabama along with the Tide, fans follow them like pro teams. Coach Thigpen knows Carolina very well from playing and coaching here and he had an upbringing similar to mine with a lot of struggles so we really relate to each other. His life is like a carbon copy of mine so far. We talk all the time about stuff other than football but Auburn also has a great tradition. I've only been there once but it was really impressive."
"South Carolina feels like home to me because I was born and raised in Union which is about 45 minutes away. I was there until 7th grade so I feel a great connection to the state and to South Carolina as a program. I really like coach Elliott and he and I talk quite a bit as well. The atmosphere there is great as well. I've been there probably three times."
"Finally, Clemson was my first offer and I feel a sense of loyalty to them for being first. Coach Pearman is a really good guy and they are also close to where I grew up. I've been there a couple of times and each time I felt at home."
Next up for Humphries is setting the remaining four official visits, most of them during the season as he plans on enrolling at the college of his choice early. Humphries has offers from more than 40 college programs.