Fourth Time's the Charm for James

When Brandon James returned a Charleston Southern kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, an unbelievable statistic made its way around. How could it possibly have been 10 years since Florida had returned a kickoff for a touchdown? Ask the senior and he would tell you it hadn't been. Three previous times during his Gator career James had taken a kickoff to the endzone, only to lose the TD to a penalty.

Brandon James admitted he was apprehensive about a penalty spoiling his moment again Saturday night, but once it became clear there wouldn't be any flags this time he was able to enjoy the accomplishment. He had company in his relief.

"As soon as I came off the field (Urban Meyer) was like 'Finally, no penalties!'" said James. "He's just as happy as I am about getting the first one out of the way. It feels real good."

The last Gator to return a kickoff for a score and have it count had been Bo Carroll in 1999 against LSU. James said Carroll had been giving him some grief recently.

"Bo Carroll is on our staff and he had been busting on me for not returning one."

Soon James will begin changing the SEC record book. He's only 170 yards away from the combined punt and kickoff return yardage for a career mark held by Kentucky's Derek Abney.

James took a Tim Tebow lateral 25 yards in his one offensive touch of the night, but he's expected to get plenty of opportunities in the future. He's being asked to fill new roles on the team by being a captain as well as helping Florida fill "the Percy position" in the wake of Percy Harvin's departure to the NFL.

"He works awful hard at his job, and he inspires the guys blocking for him," said head coach Urban Meyer.

James seems genuinely appreciative of the chance to be a captain. He had some issues earlier in his career, including being linked to an attempted marijuana purchase, but says Meyer stood by him.

"It's a credit to him not giving up on me, coaches staying on me, and my fellow '06 teammates rallying around me," said James. "I had a couple of ups and downs when I first came here. I made it through, grew up a little bit, and made it to my senior year and turned into a leader."

Saturday night he had Charleston Southern's kickoff team all following him into the end zone.

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