Longhorns in the NFL: Lil’Jordan gets his big break

Garrett Hayes

After three years at  wideout for Texas, Lil’Jordan Humphrey has proven that he is anything but little. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighing in at 225 pounds, Humphrey is a big man who makes even
bigger plays.

After three years of development in Austin, Humphrey garnered national attention during his final season at Texas. During the Longhorns’ 2018 campaign, Humphrey was both dependable and productive. The star wide receiver, known for his unique yards after the catch ability, used his height and frame to bully opposing defensive backs.

Creating a new highlight nearly every game, Humphrey balled out in the biggest moments. He is one of the few nonquarterbacks in Texas history to receive, rush and pass for a touchdown in the same season. Humphrey captured the hearts of Longhorn fans when his play on the field helped lead Texas to its first New Year’s Six bowl appearance and victory in a decade.

However, Humphrey’s journey to the NFL was anything but conventional. Although he received a mid to late-round draft grading, Humphrey decided to forgo his senior season to declare for the NFL draft, betting on himself and his skills. But Humphrey’s name was never called during the 2019 NFL draft.

After the draft, the New Orleans Saints signed Humphrey as an unrestricted free agent. At that point, it was up to Humphrey to prove his value to the Saints and earn a roster spot. The former Longhorn logged 103 yards throughout the preseason.

“A main point of my game at Texas was YAC (yards after catch),” said Humphrey after a preseason game in which he scored his lone touchdown. “I don’t feel like it was a breakout play. I feel it was a stepping stone just showing that I’m getting better.”

Yet, Humphrey didn’t survive roster cuts and found himself on the Saints practice squad at the start of the season.

Two weeks into the season, the Saints suffered injuries across their roster. Wide receiver Keith Kirkwood, who was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, was included in this banged up group. With a new opening at wideout, Humphrey was promoted to the Saints roster on Sept. 18, 2019. Although the path was winding and full of setbacks, Humphrey has made it to where he wants to be. All that’s left is to prove that he belongs. As an unrestricted free agent, Humphrey doesn’t have the leeway a draft pick would have. Humphrey will likely see few snaps as he starts his career with the Saints. But now, with injuries plaguing New Orleans’ roster, he will have opportunities to propel his career forward yet again.