Coach remembers fallen player, OSU top recruit
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2001
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 00:06
One of the top high school running backs in the state, who had verbally committed to Ohio State, died suddenly Monday while playing a pick-up basketball game.
Eighteen-year-old Drushaun Humphrey was a 6-foot-3, 240-pound running back from Toledo Roger High School.
“It affected everyone (at school), not just his teammates. He was a fun loving kid,” said Rich Rios, his high school coach.
Humphrey died at 6:15 p.m. Monday, apparently of a heart attack. An autopsy was expected to be completed by the Lucas Country Corner yesterday.
“He was playing basketball at a friend’s house,” Rios said. “He collapsed. His friends thought that he was joking around. That’s the kind of guy he was.”
Rios said Humphrey was an unselfish kid which was one reason so many classmates liked him. Besides being one of the biggest guys walking through his high school’s halls, Humphrey was just another guy, Rios said.
Humphrey, who was an All-Ohio special mention as a junior, had verbally committed to play football for the Buckeyes.
“I don’t know him that well. I know our people felt real strong about him, and coach Cooper offered him a scholarship,” OSU coach Jim Tressel said. “Back here at youth camp, he made such an impression ... being the type of person we would like at OSU.”
Rios said Humphrey set several school records for his high school, which include five touchdowns in one game and scoring 21 times last season. “He was incredible, he could run a 4.4 forty,” Rios said.
“The team is struggling. They are pretty devastated. The school was very quiet today,” Rios said yesterday. “This may be the toughest thing I’ve had to deal with in my life.”
Rios said he told the football team they would have to go on, because Humphreys would have wanted the team to continue.
Humphreys had been recruited by many schools across the country, but Rios said he was set on playing in Ohio Stadium as a Buckeye.
“On behalf of coach Cooper and the staff, our heart-felt thoughts and prayers go out to his family,” Tressel said.
Tressel added that the death was surprising in such a vibrant and healthy young person. “It’s one of those things that’s hard to comprehend.”
Tressel said several OSU players have approached Tressel asking about sending a card and signed jersey.
This was not the first time Tressel has dealt with the death of a football player.
Tressel said during the first game he coached as a graduate assistant at Akron, a player died on the field of the season opener.
“The young man I had an experience with, was a heart thing as well,” Tressel said.
“(Humphrey) had tremendous ability and he was one of the fellas, that’s a special guy,” Tressel said.