Corona del Mar’s John Humphreys follows parents’ path in Stanford commitment

John Humphreys finished with 103 receptions for 1,783 yards and 28 touchdowns last season at Corona del Mar.
(Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

John Humphreys returned from a trip to the Bay Area two weekends ago and thought he had his mind made on his college decision. The 6-foot-5 Newport Beach Corona del Mar wide receiver wanted to attend his parents’ alma mater, Stanford.

But Brad, who played for the Cardinal football team, and Wendy, who was a volleyball player during her time at Stanford, told their son to hold off on a reactionary decision. They wanted him to think it over.

When the topic was broached again last Monday, John got the approval he was seeking. “They said, ‘Go ahead. If this is what you want, then this is what you want,’ ” he said.

Humphreys called Stanford receivers coach Bobby Kennedy. He informed head coach David Shaw a day later. He announced his commitment Thursday morning on Twitter, choosing the Cardinal over a number of major schools.


“I realized nothing was going to change my mind,” Humphreys said. “I just felt like it was the right place for me. I’m obviously really blessed and honored to have the opportunities I had, but I was pretty done with the process and just ready to move on and focus on one school.

“With all my options, I really couldn’t have gone wrong with the decision. I just felt like this is a pretty unique situation for me to go play at my dream school, to get the best education in the nation and go play for a national championship and a Pac-12 championship.”

The 247Sports composite four-star prospect grew up a Cardinal fan, going to a Stanford game or two every year and any Rose Bowl it played in. But he hadn’t paid as much attention to Stanford in middle school and early in his high school career. Older brother Ben was a three-year starter and two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker at Duke after graduating from Santa Ana Mater Dei.

“I never really rooted for Stanford any more,” John said. “I didn’t watch a ton of their games just because I was always watching my brother, rooting for my brother at Duke.”


John’s recruitment began to pick up in the midst of two monster seasons at Corona del Mar. He had 55 catches for 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore and 103 receptions for 1,783 yards and 28 scores last season, earning him offers from all over the nation. Stanford was intent on reminding him why the school is such a significant place for the Humphreys family.

“Going back there and just realizing how special of a place it really is and how I could excel there was just awesome,” Humphreys said. “I just felt really comfortable up there. Academics is huge for me. The mix of football and academics there is best in the nation. You can go there, get a great education and play championship-level football, which is pretty special about Stanford.”

Family ties

Brad and Wendy Humphreys didn’t want to push John in any direction. Their oldest three children had each gone to different colleges. Along with Ben’s success at Duke, eldest daughter Kelsey was a setter on Stanford’s 2016 national championship volleyball team. Younger daughter Ashley is a freshman setter at USC.


“Through this whole process, when Stanford offered and even when all these other schools offered, I honestly couldn’t tell where [my parents] wanted me to go,” John said. “That was pretty cool because I think parents who go to schools obviously would want their kid to go to their alma mater just because of how they feel about it. But I never even got that feeling with my parents. They were making sure I knew it was my decision and they made sure I knew whatever I wanted I could do.”

From recruit to recruiter

Thursday marked John’s first day as recruiter for the Cardinal. His decision made, his job now becomes swaying other prospects to join Stanford’s 2020 class.

He’s going to be reaching out to other recruits that he met during his visits to Stanford, USC, UCLA, California, Notre Dame and Duke to sell them on becoming a Cardinal.


His Corona del Mar teammates may be a hard sell. Three-star quarterback Ethan Garbers committed to Washington this month and Stanford is not one of the more than 20 offers four-star tight end Mark Redman has received.