"A lot of people would say the only reason we were signing him was because we wanted to get Charone Peake," said Swinney on Wednesday during the ACC coaches' teleconference. "People have no idea who this guy is because he wasn't a highly recruited guy."
While Peake - ranked as the nation's No. 1 receiver by one website network and a consensus top-five pick - played in the spotlight, Humphries did a bit of everything for Dorman, one of South Carolina's traditional football powers.
He played primarily as a running back and a defensive back as a senior, returned kicks and caught a few passes. With what little recruiting attention he received, he was pegged by most as an undersized safety.
Clemson, meanwhile, recruited him as a wide receiver.
He became an afterthought - along with Stanton Seckinger (who is now battling for a spot as the Tigers' No. 2 tight end) - in a five-man receiver class ranked as the nation's best.
After three weeks of preseason practice a year go, Swinney declared Humphries "too valuable to redshirt."
"Adam had a very good freshman year," said Swinney. "We thought he was maybe the second most impactful freshman that we had...
"It was quickly recognized when he got to camp last year, just how physically, and more importantly, mentally how ready he was to contribute early."
Humphries immediately contributed on special teams and worked his way into the playing rotation at wide receiver. After spring practice, offensive coordinator Chad Morris said one his plans for this season is to get Humphries and Sammy Watkins on the field together more often.
"He is a very good special teams player, and just a heck of a football player," Swinney said. "Adam can do a little bit of everything. He can return, cover, catch, run with the ball. He is, I think, a very, very good player that over the next three years is going to make a big, big impact at Clemson. I don't have any doubt about that."
A pleasant surprise? Not really.
"I don't think any of us were surprised at all," Swinney said. "Again, that's what we do. We don't hit on everybody, but he was one for sure that we felt fully comfortable with our evaluation that this guy was going to be a very good player for us, even though other people, for whatever reason, didn't evaluate him as high as we did."