When your dad is one of the greats in University of Arkansas football lore, it's likely you are going to give the Razorbacks a look once you grow up.
Little Rock Central junior-to-be linebacker Blake James (6-1, 220, 4.7), whose dad Bruce was a first-team All-American at the UA in 1970, is doing just that and the Razorbacks are looking back.
James, who played at Ocean Springs (Miss.) High last season after starting ever game at Central as a freshman, is going through new Razorback camp Bobby Petrino's Football Camp this week.
"The thing that sticks out to me most in what I have heard about Coach Petrino is that he is someone that I have always known to be offensive minded," James said, "but I have heard that he is into physicality, likes to hit every day and that is right up my alley."
James, who sports a 4.0 grade point average, had 69 tackles, 5 tackles for losses, 3 caused fumbles and 1 recovered fumble as an all-district performer for Ocean Springs last season.
"The coaches at Central saw me and helped cultivate and develop me and that helped me a lot heading into my sophomore year," James said. "That gave me a big head start to be able to play like I did last season."
He is thrilled to be back at Central with legendary head coach Bernie Cox.
"The thing that I love most about him is that he is not just about football, he is about helping you as a person," James said. "He is just a great all-around person and I enjoy playing for him."
The Tigers do not have a single defensive starter returning from last season.
"I have heard all the defense is gone, but Coach Cox does a great job from year-to-year of getting new people in and just getting them ready to play," James said. "There is a lot of team camaraderie at Little Rock Central so I am not to worried about it."
The year in Mississippi was just something that James wanted to do.
"We were rebuilding a house so I decided to go down and be there to help as much as possible," James said. "It was a great experience for me."
It turned out very well for the transfer – both between schools and positions as he moved from defensive end to middle linebacker.
"We went 10-2 and made it to the second round of the playoffs," James said. "I started at middle linebacker and made all-district. I had 69 tackles.
"I'd say the biggest thing was the mental part, having to switch from the outside back to the inside," James said. "But it came pretty easy."
James said his dad has been invaluable in helping him develop a work ethic.
"He has tried to help me in showing me what I need to do if I do want to play on the next level," James said. "Things like how hard I have to work and what I have to achieve to be able to get there."
James is just starting to have some interest in where he might land in college.
"Personally I have just started looking at schools," James said. "I am just keeping an open mind to everybody. I have received letters from Arkansas, Ole Miss previously (before the staff change), Vanderbilt and Tulane."
He has been to plenty of Razorbacks games in the years past.
"When I go to a camp, I like to get the most of it," James said. "I like to work to get better at my position, but I also like to look over the campus and get a feel for the area. That's not a problem here."
The Next James
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