|San Diego State Aztecs No. 19|
|Date of birth||December 6, 1994|
|Place of birth||North Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||180 lb (82 kg)|
Pumphrey attended Canyon Springs High School in North Las Vegas, Nevada. As a senior he was the Gatorade High School Football Player of the Year for Nevada after rushing for 1,491 yards on 160 carries with 19 touchdowns. During his career he ran for 4,152 yards on 494 attempts with 49 touchdowns. Pumphrey was rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. He committed to San Diego State University to play college football.
As a true freshman in 2013, Pumphrey played in all 13 games, making one start. He finished second on the team behind Adam Muema with 752 rushing yards on 125 carries with eight touchdowns. After Muema entered the 2014 NFL Draft, Pumphrey became the starter his sophomore year in 2014. He played in all 13 games and rushed for 1,876 on 276 carries with 20 touchdowns. The rushing yards broke the school record held by George Jones since 1995 and was the third best total in the nation behind Melvin Gordon and Tevin Coleman.
- REVIEW-JOURNAL, TRISTAN AIRD LAS VEGAS (11 July 2012). "NOTES: Recruiters take notice of Pioneers' Pumphrey".
- REVIEW-JOURNAL, LAS VEGAS (5 December 2012). "Pioneers RB earns Gatorade award".
- "Canyon Springs' Pumphrey verbally commits with San Diego State football". 8 August 2012.
- Union-Tribune, San Diego. "Who will replace Muema as Aztecs' RB?".
- Boise State football faces another big rushing test
- San Diego State Football: Should Donnel Pumphrey have been an All-American over Jay Ajayi?
- Union-Tribune, San Diego. "DJ Pumphrey rushing to SDSU record".
- "SDSU Supersoph Gains Rushing Record, But Rues Bowl Loss – Times of San Diego". 24 December 2014.
- Gazette, Capital. "Poinsettia Bowl Notebook: Aztecs take run at Midshipmen".