Creed Humphrey checks all of the boxes for an offensive lineman.

Creed Humphrey checks all of the boxes for an offensive lineman.

You have to be big to be a topnotch offensive lineman. Humphrey is big. At 6’4” and 310 pounds, he has no trouble looking the part.

You have to be smart to be a great offensive lineman. Humphrey enrolled a semester early at the University of Oklahoma and, even though he admits success in college takes a little more work than it did at Shawnee High School, he is having no trouble making the grade.

"School always comes first for me," the finance major said.

You also have to be quick, technically sound, and a hard worker to excel on the offensive line. Humphrey – a High School All-American and the No. 3 rated center in the entire country - signed to play for the Sooners under retired Coach Bob Stoops. But his new coach sees of the same characteristics in him that Stoops did. Because of that, Humphrey has a chance to play as a true freshman on what many football commentators are calling the best offensive line in the country.

“He is unusually physically gifted for a guy his age,” new OU coach Lincoln Riley said of Humphrey. “He could physically go in there right now and hold his own against most people.”

Humphrey said he is willing to play whatever role the team needs him to. If that means starting in Week One, he will be ready. If it means taking a red shirt year to get better, he will do that too.

“Whatever is best for the team,” he said. “That has always been my mindset. “

He said working with the Sooners’ talented offensive line group has been a fun challenge.

“Every day is a competition,” Humphrey said. “In the weight room, watching film, and in practice. There are no days off. We are always working to get better.”

One night last week,

Coach Riley shook up some old school fans when he called off the team’s evening practice and took them to hit golf balls instead.

Humphrey said he showed up with the team expecting to have another tough practice during the camp before the season starts. But when they arrived, they found out about the new plan.

“It was great,” he said. “We all had a great time. It was good for the team.”

He said the game at the highest level of college football is very different than high school. He said players are rarely big and fast enough to dominate others at this level so the mental game and strategy are far more important than in high school.

That was one major reason he enrolled early.

“Getting an extra semester of work and having the playbook longer really helps,” he said. “It also gave me more time to prepare physically and be stronger and in better shape.”

When he was growing up in Shawnee, his family held season tickets to Sooner games. Playing in Memorial Stadium was always a dream and Humphrey is looking forward to making those dreams come true.

There are several big games on the OU schedule this year, but Humphrey said the one game he was looking forward to the most is the Texas game.

“That atmosphere is incredible,” he said. “I can’t wait to play there.”

Becoming a Sooner was a goal and a dream until it became a reality this season. Now Humphrey’s goals have grown.

“I want to be an all conference and all American player,” he said. “And, of course, I would love to be drafted to play in the NFL one day.”

For now, pursuing those goals means more practice, film study, weight room and work on techniques.