MISSOULA — It’s been an unorthodox road for Cam Humphrey throughout his college football career.
Last week, Humphrey was officially named the Montana Grizzlies starting quarterback when he beat out backup Kris Brown for the job. Humphrey taking over to begin a fall campaign has been a long time coming for the Griz signal caller as he now holds the reins to the UM offense with the beginning of the 2021 season right around the corner.
Humphrey -- who has five starts under his belt for Montana during his career -- will be in familiar territory when he takes the first snaps this Saturday at Washington in Seattle. Humphrey grew up in Issaquah, Washington, which is part of the Seattle metropolitan area, and he went to high school just 21 miles away from Husky Stadium.
So for the senior, Saturday's start will be a homecoming of sorts as he plays his first game in Washington since his high school days.
"It’s really cool, it’s a real surreal experience," Humphrey said. "I grew up being a Husky fan, but you know that’s all going to be put on the sideline, right? Just another opponent in front of us and it just so happens to be in my hometown but at the end of the day it’s just another game."
Humphrey -- who grew up going to games at Husky Stadium even before its recent renovations in 2011 -- said the messages of support have been aplenty from those in Washington, and the Griz senior will have a strong contingent of family and friends there when UM takes the field.
"It'll be cool to play in front of them, it hasn't happened in a long time," Humphrey said. "My phone has been blowing up from all of those friends and family, they're all going to be there. I'm really looking forward to it."
For Humphrey, the start comes as a hard-earned opportunity.
Coming out of high school, he started his career at Boise State before going to community college and eventually joining the Grizzlies in 2018. He was former Griz quarterback Dalton Sneed's backup in 2019, a season where he started three games when Sneed went down with injury. Humphrey was then heir apparent for the starting job in 2020 before the season was postponed, and eventually got the chance to start again when UM played two games in the spring.
So for Humphrey, his chance to start the upcoming fall season under center is a testament to his patience and willingness to stay ready.
"It’s been a little unusual, lot of waiting for sure but all of that waiting time is just more time for me to get prepared," Humphrey said. "All of that time that I got to watch Dalton play and then the COVID year and all that, I think it just made me a better player in the end and I think it’s going to show itself here on the field."
For Humphrey, everything happens for a reason, and it has led to the challenge he faces on Saturday at Washington, and ultimately throughout the remainder of this upcoming season.
"It’s got to be your mentality the way you look at it," Humphrey said. "You can be bummed out, which I was, but you have to turn that mentality around and see it as just more time to prepare. It’s more time to get better, more time to improve your knowledge of the game, improve your knowledge of your position and all of that so in turn I think it made me a better player and more mature player.
"Its unorthodox for sure. Its been unique but I truly believe it makes me who I am today and the player I am today. I think it molded me into a resilient player."