TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WCBI/ESPN) – Rather than deny his home-state ties or his father’s legacy, five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey chose to stay close to home and committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide on Wednesday morning.
Humphrey, the No. 15 overall prospect — and fifth-ranked CB — in the ESPN 300 rankings out of Hoover (Ala.) High School, chose Alabama over Florida State, Mississippi State, and UCLA.
He had long kept his recruitment close to the vest, leading many to wonder whether he’d make the most obvious choice as his father, Bobby, was an All-American running back for the Tide in the late 1980s.
Hoover High is less than an hour’s drive from the Tuscaloosa campus.
With Alabama under a sheet of snow, Hoover High wasn’t open for classes Wednesday. Humphrey was supposed to visit with his coach, Josh Niblett, at school before making the decision, but he pulled the trigger anyway.
In the end, Niblett said he was proud of his star cornerback for the way he handled himself throughout the recruiting process.
“Now that it’s over, he can take a deep breath,” Niblett told ESPN. “The thing with him is he’s handled the process unbelievably. He’s had a plan, he’s had his ducks in a row.
“He did a really good job of looking at all the aspects of the programs recruiting him. … In the end, he wanted to see what was the best fit for him and the best for his future. And obviously that choice came down to the University of Alabama.”
Alabama already had the No. 1-ranked recruiting class, according to ESPN, and Humphrey’s commitment only further widens the gap with signing day less than a week away.
Humphrey and Tony Brown give the Tide two five-star cornerbacks in the class, and considering the trouble coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart had at the position this past season, that’s a welcome improvement.
Deion Belue, a starter, and John Fulton, a top reserve, both graduated, leaving multiple positions up for grabs.
The 6-foot, 179-pound Humphrey has the ideal frame to play the type of physical style Saban and Smart demand from their corners. With a 4.48-second 40-yard dash, he also has the speed to keep up with SEC receivers.
Humphrey was the fifth-highest-rated cornerback in the ESPN 300 and the No. 2 player in the state behind running back Bo Scarbrough, who is also committed to Alabama.
Humphrey gives the Tide 18 ESPN 300 commitments in total.