Scott Hummel couldn’t sleep Thursday night. A big decision and great options were on the Linganore junior’s mind.
By noon Friday, though, he’d officially committed to play football at James Madison University, choosing to continue his development as a mauling interior offensive lineman.
With that, he crashed on his bed — which sits just below a JMU national championship poster, in a room adorned with Dukes purple and gold, in a house where he dwells with a JMU grad, his mother.
Hummel could rest easy.
“I could go to sleep knowing all the stress was lifted off my shoulders and I’d made the decision,” Hummel said.
The Dukes coaches had given him a day to decide if he’d accept their scholarship offer. “Commit here as soon as you can,” they told him Thursday evening.
Even with his predilection toward JMU and his parents’ history there — it’s where his father, David Hummel, and mother, Shayna Hughes, matriculated and met — Scott Hummel fully contemplated the pros and cons between the Harrisonburg, Virginia, school and his other finalist, Villanova.
It went on all night.
Finally, it dawned on him: He would continue the family tradition.
No matter which college Hummel picked among a bevy of outstanding options (JMU, Dartmouth, New Hampshire, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Fordham and more), Linganore coach Rick Conner has no concerns about the 6-foot-4, 285 pound linchpin of the Lancers’ dominant ground game.
He believes Hummel can fit in anywhere, including a championship subdivision powerhouse like JMU.
“We would all love to have our kids go to those schools,” Conner said of Hummel’s suitors. “Come on, right? That tells you the type of credibility that he’s shown to those people.”
Of Hummel, Conner said, “He’s what high school sports are all about.”
Hummel entered ninth grade, like many, uncertain of what his future held, in the sports arena and off. He’d grown up playing football, but it was largely to be around his friends and stay active. Then, like Conner said, Hummel kept growing. And growing.
Three years later, he has become a scholarship lineman. He also gave up basketball as a freshman and turned himself into a state place-winning wrestler (he took third in the Class 4A/3A heavyweight class at states in February).
Hummel said wrestling got him into the best shape of his life. It also helped him gain a better grasp of the leverage that’s so invaluable in football as a lineman.
He embraced the aggression that comes with playing guard, earning his first call up to varsity for the Lancers’ playoff run in 2017. He didn’t play in their state championship win, but he’s started 28 straight games since then, including two state finals.
“He might be the nicest kid in our hallways, and you put him in a wrestling circle and he pins a kid in 30 seconds,” Conner said. “You put him on the football field between the white lines and he knocks them on their backs, then picks them up.”
Conner said Hummel is on the short list of the best offensive linemen he’s coached in his 18 years at Linganore, a list that includes Los Angeles Rams right tackle Rob Havenstein. Last season, Hummel was a key to the Lancers rushing for 3,660 yards and reaching the state final (a loss to Damascus).
“Wherever he was,” Conner said of Hummel, “that’s where the ball went. It’s pretty simple.”
After Hummel leaves Linganore, he’ll get a chance to play a role on a JMU team that also has a history of excellence. After he made his decision Friday, there was a brief period in which some doubt crept into Hummel’s weary mind. But then he talked with his parents, trainer and friends about his choice.
“They kind of made me realize how lucky I am to be able to go to a fantastic school, get a good degree and still be fairly close to home,” said Hummel, who hopes to one day work in the medical field. “And I definitely realized that this was a great decision.”
Follow Joshua R. Smith on Twitter: @JoshuaR_Smith