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Alabama Football Film Room: Marlon Humphrey

After redshirting his first year, Marlon Humphrey burst onto college football world in 2015, earning Freshman All-American honors along the way. He was a force opposite Cyrus Jones last season and headlines a talented cornerback corps this season.

Marlon Humphrey helps the Tide steal a possession from Clemson
Marlon Humphrey helps the Tide steal a possession from Clemson
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Marlon Humphrey was one of two 5 star cornerbacks signed in the Class of 2014 (Tony Brown was the other). Coming out of Hoover High School, he was the #1 recruit in Alabama, the #3 CB, and the #12 overall player in his class. He’s the son of former Alabama great Bobby Humphrey and arrived with plenty of hype, especially after the secondary’s dismal performance in 2013. Humphrey redshirted his freshman year, however, as Brown earned playing time.

Undeterred, he locked down the starting CB spot opposite Cyrus Jones in the 2015 offseason and went on to start every game. Humphrey finished the season with 45 total tackles, was third on the team with 8 pass break-ups, and was second on the team with 3 interceptions.


1st and 10: Humphrey is in press coverage at the top of the screen against #15 Robert Wheelwright. He opens his hips and starts going downfield almost immediately while keeping his eyes on the quarterback. Wheelwright cuts in on his slant route, and Humphrey takes a bad step and gets away from the receiver. Stave throws a nice pass, and Humphrey has no shot at making a play. Easy first down for the Badgers.

2nd and 17: Humphrey is off screen at the bottom. The receiver in front of him (Jazz Peavy) runs an in route, so he starts dropping back. Minkah Fitzpatrick passed off Alex Erickson, who was in the slot, when he started running a corner route and jumped down to cover Peavy. Stave throws a perfectly placed ball just past Humphrey’s fingertips, and Erickson hauls it in. Stave could not have thrown a better past to squeeze it in there. I can’t really blame Humphrey for this one.

3rd and 7: Humphrey is at the bottom of the screen, covering Robert Wheelwright again. Wheelwright takes a step to the outside. Humphrey matches. Wheelwright bounces back inside. Humphrey matches. The coverage gets physical, and Humphrey stays right on him. The pass goes to a different receiver, but Humphrey looks good in his coverage.

3rd and 9: Humphrey is in press coverage on Tanner McEvoy at the top of the screen. The wide receiver just starts running down field; and after a little hand fighting, Humphrey follows. He’s in good position, but he makes contact with the receiver without turning his head to look for the football. Flags fly, and Wisconsin gets a first down on the defensive pass interference. It wasn’t particularly egregious, but he didn’t get his head around.

1st and 10: Humphrey is in zone coverage near the top of the screen. The WR on his side, Jazz Peavy, runs a shallow crossing route, which Humphrey passes off underneath. The FB Derek Watt fakes his block and spills out of the backfield into the flat. Humphrey sees this and changes directions seamlessly, closing the six or so yards quickly. Watt barely has time to catch the ball and turn before Humphrey is flinging him to the ground. Great recognition, and you can really see the athleticism he has.


3rd and 10: Humphrey is at the top of the screen in off coverage over the TE Jackson Harris, who’s out wide. Harris runs a fly route, and Humphrey just waits before turning to run with him. He makes contact with Harris; but, unlike the play against Wisconsin above, he turns his head to look for the ball. Instead of defensive pass interference, Humphrey gets his first collegiate interception and the Ball Out Belt.


2nd and 10: Humphrey is at the top of the screen a couple yards off the line of scrimmage. When the slot receiver goes in motion, Humphrey gets his guy man-on-man with no safety help. Humphrey turns and runs with him and routes him towards the sideline. He’s on top of him the entire route; and, while it wasn’t a great pass, Humphrey’s presence prevents the receiver from attempting to make a play.

2nd and 15: Humphrey is at the bottom of the screen on #25 Josh Smith. He shuffles a couple steps back while keeping his eyes on QB Josh Dobbs. He sees Dobbs turn towards Smith, who has started breaking on an out route; and he transitions from moving back to springing forward without losing a step. He closes the gap, and Dobbs moves to another read. Everything’s covered, though; so he scrambles to his right. He avoids Ryan Anderson and heaves it down the field where Ronnie Harrison drops what should have been an interception. While the ball’s in flight, you can see Humphrey again, knocking Smith down to the ground.

2nd and 8: Humphrey is at the bottom in press coverage on WR Josh Malone. He turns and runs with him, but Malone gets inside of him and gains clear separation when he breaks on the post route. It’s an easy catch, and Humphrey also struggles to tackle him. Tennessee will go on to score a touchdown and take the lead.

1st and 10: Alabama has retaken the lead, but there’s still time left on the clock. Humphrey’s at the bottom of the screen on Malone again. The camera comes off him, so it’s hard to tell exactly how he played. However, Josh Dobbs avoids a rushing Tim Williams and scrambles to the right. While on the run, he throws a dart to Malone. Humphrey almost gets a pick; but he just bumps into Malone, who catches it on a bobble.


1st and 10: First play of the game. Humphrey is at the bottom of the screen with no wide receiver on his side. He takes one step back on the snap, see it’s a run, and changes direction quickly. The right tackle Mason Halter pulls right and attempts a cut block on Humphrey, who shrugs it off. Shaun Dion Hamilton forced RB Kelvin Taylor to stop to avoid him, halting his momentum. Humphrey jumps inside and gets the tackle on Taylor.

2nd and 8: Humphrey is at the bottom, slightly obscured by the CBS graphic. WR Antonio Callaway is in tight by the line. Humphrey turns and runs with Calloway but loses a step on him when he breaks on the post route. Still, Humphrey’s easily able to close while the ball’s in the air; but Calloway does an excellent job of using his body to keep Humphrey away. Humphrey tries to get in there and break it up, but no dice. Long gain for the Gators. Here's another angle.

2nd and 8: Humphrey’s at the top of the screen in off coverage. WR Ahmad Fulwood runs an intermediate out route, and Humphrey is in good position. He has good awareness, seeing QB Treon Harris throwing while moving backwards and getting hit; and he steps up. Humphrey high points the ball, catches it with his hands, and hauls it in for his third (and final) interception of the season. Here's another shot.


1st and 10: Humphrey is at the bottom of the screen opposite WR Artavis Scott (Clemson’s top receiver). Scott runs a comeback running about 15 or so yards and coming back towards the line. Humphrey is on top of him. QB Deshaun Watson’s pass is a little high; and Scott has to jump for it, never really getting a handle on it. Humphrey was right there, though, shoving him in the back in case he had caught it.

Kickoff: A rare special teams play for you. Henry just scored the game’s first points, and Alabama has a 7 point lead. Artavis Scott slips through a tackle on the ensuing kickoff, but Humphrey is in position to help Adam Griffith take him down.

1st and 10: Humphrey is at the bottom of the screen, just outside the hashmarks. WR Ray-Ray McCloud motions right-to-left and gets the defense flowing that way, but Watson hands off to RB Wayne Gallman going right. Both guards are pulling right, giving Gallman two lead blockers. Humphrey comes down and sets the edge well, forcing Gallman to cut upfield instead of getting to the sideline. Humphrey ends up looping around and helping clean up the pile tackling Gallman. Solid job in run support.

2nd and 4: Humphrey is on the right, in man coverage on WR Charone Peake (a 7th round pick by the Jets). Peake runs a slant, but the route is well-covered. Watson scrambles and ends up rolling to the right. Peake sees his QB in trouble and breaks back to the outside. Humphrey loses a step with him on this, but he’s still in decent position. Watson just throws an incredibly well-placed ball while on the move, and Humphrey can’t quite his hand in there. Clemson with a nice gain.

1st and 10: Watson reads the defense and hands off to Gallman. There’s nothing up the middle, so he bounces it outside. Denzel Devall fought off his block and hits Gallman, forcing him back several yards but not bringing him down. Humphrey easily gets past Charone Peake’s half-hearted attempt at a block and crashes down to the line. Gallman has nowhere to go; and Humphrey lowers his shoulder and takes Gallman’s legs out from under him.

3rd and 3: Humphrey is on the far left, in press coverage on Peake. Humphrey turns with Peake as he releases to the outside and jams him after a yard or two. While locked with Peake, Humphrey does a heads-up job and peeks into the backfield. He sees the pass coming; and he throws his right arm up, deflecting the pass. Somebody on Clemson screwed up, as Peake was attempting to block Humphrey and never looked for the ball.

3rd and 10: Humphrey is at the top of the screen on Artavis Scott. The receiver stutter steps and fakes like he’s releasing outside. This gets Humphrey moving that way, and Scott comes back inside. This gives him great leverage in a one-on-one match-up. Watson sees this and lofts it to the streaking Scott. Humphrey, who lost valuable steps and positioning while turning around, closes while the pass is in the air. He tracks the ball, all the while keeping a hand on Scott. He jumps at the exact right time and knocks the ball away. I LOVE this play for Humphrey. Yes, he screwed up at the beginning of the play; but he recovered and made the play. Fantastic job.