One by one, college coaches from all over the country piled in to the Desert Vista High’s football stadium to take in the Thunder’s spring showcase.
Each coach walked around the field with rosters in hand, watching as athletes from Desert Vista, Desert Ridge, Chaparral and Salpointe Catholic performed various drills relative to their position.
Some athletes have already been on the radar of coaches for months, but others took advantage of the opportunity to showcase their talent.
“I think it was a major success,” Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said. “I think having this many coaches and getting kids exposure like this is great.”
An estimated 75 college coaches attended the Wednesday, May 8 event. As a result, several players from each team were offered scholarships. Some received offers during the event. Some came after the drills concluded.
Others received interest from coaches, but were told they wanted to be seen in person one more time before an official offer is presented. Regardless, it provided every athlete an opportunity to make a lasting impression.
“It was definitely a cool experience, I was looking forward to it,” said Colby Humphrey, a running back and defensive back for Desert Vista. “You had Salpointe there, who has (five-star running back) Bijan Robinson and (four-star safety) Lathan Ransom. They have a lot of eyes on them and them being there opens up a lot of opportunities for other players.”
Humphrey entered the showcase with a scholarship offer to Abilene Christian University. Despite injuring his hamstring midway through the workout, he made an impression on two other schools.
Northern Arizona University and South Dakota State University both offered Humphrey after the event concluded. The University of Idaho offered him on Monday.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be honest,” Humphrey said. “I was excited. It encouraged me even more and made me want to work even harder than I already am. It was a confidence booster.
“It let me know that I got eyes on me.”
Humphrey played a vital role for Desert Vista last season as a junior. He rushed for 741 yards and 10 touchdowns on offense. He also caught 11 passes for 220 yards and two more scores.
On defense, he had 33 total tackles and 3 interceptions to help lead the Thunder to a 10-2 record and trip to the 6A quarterfinals.
Humphrey will maintain a key role on both offense and defense for Desert Vista in 2019. He will line up in the backfield with fellow senior-to-be running back Tyson Grubbs. When either need a break, soon-to-be sophomore Devon Grubbs, Tyson’s younger brother, will come in to take over.
Elijah Ervin returns for Desert Vista at wideout, along with Taron Thomas. Both had over 100 receiving yards last season. Ervin lead the team with 657.
“I think we are definitely state contenders,” Humphrey said. “We want to go 14-0. That’s what I love about this team, we are all committed and all ready to go.”
Desert Vista quarterback Parker Navarro has already showed the benefits of having a slew of talent around him on offense.
Navarro impressed coaches at the spring showcase. He showed poise in the pocket and a strong, accurate arm during 7-on-7. He spoke with several coaches during and after the event, and received his first scholarship offer to the University of Sioux Falls.
Hinds expects more offers to come for his players, whether it be in the summer or over the course of the season.
He believes each possesses the ability to make an impact at the college level. But for now he knows they remain focused on picking up where they left off last season.
“It’s a really competitive group,” Hinds said. “They really get after it, even during one-on-ones. This whole brotherhood thing the last two or three years has really come alive.
“They’re a tight-knit group and they want to win.”