Penning his Longhorn legacy

Alex Briseño

Lil’Jordan Humphrey found a fine point pen, and he’s using it in more ways than one. 

Months before Lil’Jordan Humphrey became the team's leading receiver, the 6-foot-4-inch wide receiver penned a poem, ‘Lil’Letter to America,’ voicing his take on race relations in the United States. 

“It’s always been a situation that’s been talked about,” Humphrey said. “I live it. We live in it, and I can’t just turn a blind eye because it’s the society we live in.”

Humphrey’s poem was an assignment for his American literature class where was tasked to write something about his feelings. After submitting, he went to his coaches to discuss the possibility of posting his work on social media. 

He got the go-ahead from his coaches before tweeting his work, with the caption, ‘A Lil piece of my mind,’ on July 13.

“I was proud of him for expressing his feelings,” head coach Tom Herman said. “He wrote it and felt like he wanted to post it and share it. I support it. That’s the beauty of social media.”

Three months later, Humphrey is demanding even more attention. This time, it’s for his poetry-in-motion-like performance in the Red River Showdown. 

Growing up in the Dallas area, and attending Southlake Carroll High School, Humphrey had the rivalry in his backyard every year. He just never had the opportunity to actually attend the game. 

“I used to go to the fair and hear about this game all the time and watch it on TV to watch all the big plays and hype around it,” Humphrey said. “I never thought I’d get to play in this game, but to be able to is very exciting.”

With his parents and siblings in the front row of the Cotton Bowl, Lil’Jordan recorded nine receptions for 133 yards and accounted for two touchdowns in Texas’ 48-45 victory over then-No. 7 Oklahoma. 

“I didn’t know they were going to be sitting that close,” Humphrey said. “They got to see me play. That’s the reason I came to Texas, to play in games like that in front of them.”

Humphrey hauled in a touchdown pass and even connected with Collin Johnson, the Bonnie to his Clyde, when he checked into the game as quarterback and tossed him a two-yard touchdown pass. 

But neither of these plays were the play of the game, Herman said. That came when the Longhorns faced a third-and-21 in the third quarter. Humphrey caught a pass from quarterback Sam Ehlinger on a tunnel screen, just to put their punter, Ryan Bujcevski, in position to pin the Sooners back in their own territory. 

Humphrey was hit roughly 15 yards away from the first yard marker, which would have gotten the job done. But the offensive line proceed to pile behind Humphrey and drag him 12 more yards, simply overpowering the Oklahoma defense. 

Humphrey ended up gaining 19 yards, allowing Texas to convert on a fourth down attempt rather than punt. While Herman said it was a “snapshot of our culture of toughness,” it also led to a touchdown, putting Texas up, 31-10.

“That play is exactly who we are as an offensive line,” graduate transfer Calvin Anderson said. “When you see the guys run out, not even really a play we’re supposed to be a part of, run out and push Lil’Jordan forward — it was Zach (Shackelford), Elijah (Rodriguez) and Sam (Cosmi) — guys are just going to do whatever they can to make a play happen.”

After Texas secured the three-point victory over Oklahoma, Lil’Jordan headed up an elevator to speak at the postgame press conference. As the moderator introduced Herman, Ehlinger and Charles Omenihu, he stumbled on Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s name, just saying “Jordan.” 

Herman interrupted him, saying, “Lil’Jordan … I’m a stickler for names.”

The longer the season progresses, the more people learn about the small, yet pivotal, ‘Lil’ placed right before ‘Jordan.’ From leading the team in receiving yards to throwing touchdown passes with his family in the front row, Lil’Jordan continues to write his legacy at Texas with a finer pen. His next piece of work will be displayed at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium against Baylor on Saturday.