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High School Sports

Football preview: Corona del Mar receiver John Humphreys continues family tradition

John Humphreys
John Humphreys will be the fourth sibling in his family to play college sports.
(Kevin Chang / Daily Pilot)

The Humphreys of Newport Beach could be the “Brady Bunch” of the 21st century — a family to emulate. Except there’s nothing fictional about them.

They’re high achievers in sports and academics while engaging in the kind of competitive activities a reality TV series would appreciate. From football to volleyball, from basketball to dominoes, the men and women in the family don’t like losing.

“Oh my gosh,” father Brad Humphreys said of the family games. “That’s probably not our proudest moments. It dissolves into a competitive mess.”

The patriarch played football at Stanford. The matriarch, Wendy, was an NCAA champion volleyball player at Stanford. The oldest girl, Kelsey, played volleyball at Stanford. The oldest boy, Ben, played football at Duke. The youngest girl, Ashley, plays volleyball at USC.

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Now comes the youngest, tallest and perhaps the most talented, John, a 6-foot-5 receiver at Corona del Mar who is a Stanford commit and caught a school-record 103 passes for 28 touchdowns his junior year. He has learned plenty from those he watched growing up, even though sometimes he was getting beat up more than trained by his siblings.

“He’s been my mentor, my best friend,” John said of Ben, who was a standout linebacker at Santa Ana Mater Dei before becoming a starter at Duke.

Said Brad: “He lucked out. He has a great relationship with his siblings. They were very inclusive. His comfort level and maturity is really derived from that.”

John was a ball boy on the Mater Dei sideline. He saw how his brother dealt with the ups and downs of football. And yet, despite all the family sports success, John said there was no pressure from mom and dad to become sports stars. Their focus has always been academics.

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Corona del Mar receiver caught 28 TD passes last season

“They’re awesome,” John said. “They want us to do well in all aspects of life. They guide me like parents should, but all decisions are my decisions. They made that clear. Academics is what my parents are on me hardest about. If I were to play the piano or be a writer, they’d support me 100%.”

Humphreys could have joined his brother at Mater Dei to play for family friend Bruce Rollinson but decided he wanted to take a different path, attending his neighborhood public school to play with kids with whom he’d grown up.

“As I played football with my local team, I realized we have a special group,” he said. “I knew wherever I was going I would have a great experience. At the end of the day, I wanted to play for my local neighborhood team and be unique. It was awesome growing up with the guys and make memories out on the field.”

Said Brad: “Coach Rollinson is a dear friend but it’s not about us. It’s about him. It was a difficult decision for a 13-year-old but in hindsight it was a great decision by him. We loved it and supported it.”

Humphreys isn’t afraid to go against the grain. He’s also a top basketball player for Corona del Mar and insists the time in the gym helps in football. He’s part of a strong group of receivers in Southern California.

“Going up and getting a rebound is exactly like going up and winning a 50-50 situation,” he said. “Getting by a defender in basketball is exactly like getting by a defender in football. For sure it’s helped develop my game.”

Humphreys family
The Humphreys family (from left): Ben, Kelsey, Brad, Wendy, Ashley and John.
(Courtesy of Humphreys family)
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Being the tallest Humphreys has made him an invaluable target as a receiver.

“Go out and ask any quarterback. They love throwing to big wide receivers,” he said.

Humphreys also welcomes skeptics who question his speed. He’s been working on it for several years. The cornerbacks who don’t respect his speed better beware.

“I’ve proven I’m tall but I can play fast,” he said.

Now, if only the males in the family could beat the females in volleyball.

“The losing team usually has two boys on it. We have no chance,” Brad said.

Top receivers

Players, School | Ht. | Wt. | Yr. | Comment

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Gary Bryant, Corona Centennial | 5-11 | 160 | Sr. | Averaged 22.6 yards per catch

Lavon Bunkley, Gardena Serra | 6-0 | 185 | Sr. | Caught 81 passes in 2018

Jermaine Burton, Calabasas | 6-2 | 195 | Sr. | Louisiana State commit caught 14 touchdowns as a junior

Beaux Collins, St. John Bosco | 6-3 | 180 | Jr. | Has size, hands and moves

DJ Harvey, Sierra Canyon | 5-11 | 170 | Jr. | Ready to emerge as a standout

Traeshon Holden, Narbonne | 6-3 | 190 | Sr. | Alabama commit should be No. 1 in City Section

John Humphreys, Corona del Mar | 6-5 | 205 | Sr. | Had 103 receptions, 28 touchdowns

Kristopher Hutson, St. John Bosco | 5-11 | 165 | Sr. | Averaged 18.3 yards per reception

Chad Johnson Jr., L.A. Cathedral | 6-2 | 180 | Sr. | Arizona State commit has big-time skills

Caine Savage, Western | 5-11 | 170 | Sr. | Arizona State commit caught 124 passes for 2,103 yards

A look at some of the top high school football players at each position in the Southland for the upcoming 2019 season.


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