Creed Humphrey stood at the Big 12 Media Days in Arlington, Texas, as the only returnee from 2018’s Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line.
The redshirt sophomore center watched fellow linemen Cody Ford, Bobby Evans, Dru Samia and Ben Powers go off the board in the first four rounds of April’s NFL Draft, marking the first time since the draft shortened to seven rounds in 1994 that a program has had four offensive linemen taken in the first four rounds of a single draft.
A year ago today, Humphrey was fresh off his redshirt season and was prepared to be the lone new face among four veteran starters on a line whose job was to protect, among others, starting quarterback Kyler Murray in the backfield. Now, Humphrey has the most blocking experience on the line and will be looked to as the leader of a corps that will see four new starters.
The leadership role is one Humphrey has stepped into with confidence. New starters in the trenches does not mean establishing camaraderie will be an issue, Humphrey said.
When it comes to leadership specifically, Humphrey described himself as a “natural leader” going back to his days as a four-star recruit at Shawnee High School.
“Whenever I found out everybody was leaving, I was like, ‘Okay, that’s fine,’” Humphrey said. “It’s just gonna be a new challenge for me, it’s gonna be fun. I enjoy doing things like this, I enjoy being the leader.”
Outside of the offensive line, the offense as a whole saw the departure of Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, star wide receiver Marquise Brown and running back Rodney Anderson. Early success from expected starter Jalen Hurts, a transfer from Alabama, in Lincoln Riley’s high-powered offense will certainly have some level of dependence on the performance of the Humphrey-led offensive line.
The challenge going forward is evident on the depth chart, but it’s a challenge that Humphrey said he and the fellow linemen have recognized and are ready to take on.
“You don’t come to the University of Oklahoma not ready to accept that challenge,” Humphrey said. “We’ve always put out great offensive lines and great offensive linemen and they’re expecting the exact same thing.”