Miami, Fla.--Growing up just down the street from former Norland High and future Auburn teammate Carlton Davis, junior college defensive end Paul James has watched Will Muschamp coached defenses since he was in high school. Now he’s got the opportunity to play for the energetic coordinator and the 6-4, 255-pounder said he can’t wait.
“I love his defense and I love the way he puts the right players in the right place,” James tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. “I have watched him for a long time and I’m just happy to be a part of it and work with him. I have always thought one day I wanted to play for him and luckily enough it’s going to happen.”
One of the top pass rushers in the nation in the junior college ranks with 14 sacks and 22 tackles for losses this season at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi, James has a skill set that fits well with what Muschamp wants to do on defense and he believes he can fit in a similar position to what Cassanova McKinzy and Carl Lawson have done this season for the Tigers.
“We went over a couple of plays and mostly he wants to work me at the buck,” James said. “He wants me at two positions, standing up and also putting my hand in the dirt, so just be versatile. I think it fits me well.”
The fit on defense is just part of the reason why James wants to make Auburn his future home. With Davis quickly becoming one of the top freshman cornerbacks in the Southeastern Conference and perhaps the entire country, James said being able to play alongside him once again is something he’s very much looking forward to.
“It’s very big for me because we both came from the same place,” James said of Davis. “I know what he’s been through and what he’s going through. I know he’ll guide me through the good times and bad times. I’ll have his back and I know he’ll have mine.”
While admitting he’s not focused too much on the future at the moment, James said he’s excited to get his career started in December when he plans to get an early start at Auburn by taking part in bowl practices on campus with the Tigers. That will give him a look ahead to what spring practices will look like and James said he can’t wait to be part of the Auburn program officially in just a few weeks.
“It’s just pretty much the love they showed and the opportunity I have there,” James said of why he chose Auburn. “It’s an opportunity to pretty much better myself and my life.
“It’s very important,” he added of his early start. “I’ll get a feel for the players and the coaches also. It will allow me to get a head start on the playbook.”