MISSOULA — It was several months in the making, but Cam Humphrey finally stepped foot onto the University of Montana's campus over the weekend.
And he was enthralled.
"Once I got off that visit, I was nothing but excited," Humphrey told 406mtsports.com. "The tradition and the way the coaches treated me was nothing but impressive. The new facilities that were just done and the stadium were awesome. I got to go around the town of Missoula a little bit and it felt like home."
Two days later, Humphrey, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound quarterback out of Saddleback College — a junior college in Mission Viejo, California — announced his commitment to the Montana football program via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. He has three years of eligibility remaining.
"It's been a long and challenging road, but I am very excited to announce my commitment to The University of Montana! GO GRIZ," Humphrey wrote.
Humphrey added in a phone call: "I had to talk things over with my family and they kept asking me, 'What are you feeling?' And the biggest thing I kept saying was, 'I couldn't find anything else I'd be looking for.' Montana kind of has it all."
Saddleback's head coach Mark McElroy tweeted a message directed at Montana's coach Bobby Hauck after Humphrey announced his commitment saying, "He's going to help make your team better. Rocket launcher for an arm, humble and competitive."
As a redshirt-freshman, Humphrey led the Gauchos to an 8-3 record and a playoff berth. He ended the season with 2,187 yards passing with 19 touchdowns for an average of 198.8 yards per game.
Humphrey, a native of Issaquah, Washington, earned second-team honors out of the All-National Division Southern League for his efforts.
Before arriving at Saddleback, Humphrey spent a year at Boise State, and he's learned a lot about himself since then.
"Going to Boise State out of high school, it was an awesome experience. But going to a big FBS program right out of high school, things get handed to you. You're put in dorms right away, you're still on a meal plan. When I left there and got to Saddleback — and it goes with all (junior colleges) — you kinda have to fight for yourself. There's not too many people in your corner.
"You really find that love of the game. You really find who you are as a person and a player and through this last season, I was able to figure out what kind of player I am and what it takes for me to be successful. Through all that, I've really become a better leader and quarterback, not just for me but for the team. That's something I feel like I can bring to Montana."
Humphrey said he'd been in talks with other programs, but Montana was the only one to offer him thus far. Montana's offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach was the primary coach involved in his recruiting, Humphrey said.
"The biggest thing for me is getting the opportunity to compete at a place that is ready to win," Humphrey said. "Montana has such a great tradition of winning, especially with Coach Hauck coming back, it just feels like a great fit for me. The competition level couldn't be any better. I can really see myself thriving there."
Before Humphrey's commitment to Montana, junior Dalton Sneed and redshirt-freshman Tanner Wilson were the only quarterbacks on Montana's roster. Since the conclusion of last season, Caleb Hill switched positions to tight end, Gresch Jensen transferred from the program and Reese Phillips ran out of eligibility. Eureka's Garrett Graves will be the fourth quarterback on the roster when he arrives this fall.
But the quarterback depth isn't really on Humphrey's mind. He's aiming for more.
"I'm coming here to make the team better," Humphrey said. "I'm going to come and compete and put my best foot forward, but I want what's best for the team and I want to see a ring on every one of these players' fingers by the end of the season."