He's the eighth Leopard that Jeff Whittaker is sending to college to play.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
LIBERTY -- When the Purdue University coaches were watching film of Liberty High junior John Humphrey, two things stuck out: his speed and his motor.
"He has good speed on the field and a good ability to react to the ball," said Leopards football coach Jeff Whittaker. "And they said his motor never quits. Even though the play may not be to his side, he'll sprint full speed to the ball."
Humphrey, in turn, picked Purdue for two very familiar reasons: He liked the campus and he liked the coaches.
"I just felt like it was the best fit for me," said Humphrey, who has given a verbal commitment to play for the Boilermakers. "It's got good academics and I really felt comfortable with the coaches."
Humphrey, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker, helped Liberty to a 9-1 regular season record last fall and a berth in the regional final, where the Leopards lost to eventual Division IV state champion Cardinal Mooney.
"John had a great year last year," Whittaker said.
He becomes the eighth Leopard to play college football in Whittaker's 10 seasons at Liberty. Bradley Fletcher (Iowa) and Rashad Davis (Mercyhurst) are in school now and seniors Marcellus Bowman (Boston College) and Keith Forestal (Toledo) will start next fall.
Like Bowman and Fletcher, Humphrey committed early, preferring to get the recruiting process out of the way so he could focus on football and school.
"I think it really takes the pressure off," he said. "I just want to focus on playing my senior year."
And, like Fletcher, Humphrey will be in the Big Ten, which means the two could meet several times over the next few years.
"I think it should be fun," he said. "Maybe I'll get in there and hit on him a little."
Humphrey has a 3.7 grade point average and is still undecided about his major.
"Purdue is such a good academic school, so it's a nice fit for him," said Whittaker. "And all the coaches are down to Earth."
"Yeah," added Humphrey, "it reminds me of Liberty."