"I kept it kind of quiet because I wanted to tell the football team before everyone else," James said. "But I told the people who I was close with in school."
He continued, "Coach announced it to the team after lifting and running today."
The South Allegheny Gladiators response?
"Everyone said congrats and clapped when he announced it," James said.
His coach, Pat Monroe, knows there are many things that make James so special.
"I don't think there is anyone else out there that has such potential for greatness," Monroe said. "He is a hardworking young man, he is first in the weight room, first on the practice field and last to leave."
Monroe added, "Plus he can run. He runs a 4.7 40, which is OK for everyone else, but is extraordinary for someone of his size. Everything about him right now is only going to improve."
Monroe thinks James is a good fit for Penn State football, especially on the offensive side of the field.
"I would think he is an offensive football player – he sees things as an offensive player," Monroe said. "Jesse is a solid-as-rock young man, he is legitimately 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds."
Because of his size, Monroe thinks James is a big threat on the field. "He is a quality football player," Monroe said. "He is very athletic for a big man. He is very versatile and he is an intelligent football player."
He added, "He has good hands and can catch the ball well."
James wasn't always a football player. He started off wrestling.
"He grew up being a wrestler, in youth and high school," said Monroe. "He grew probably four and a half inches within the last two years. He has handled it well and just has tremendous potential."
Potential that James can't wait to bring to Penn State.
"I'm just happy I'm going to be playing football at Penn State," James said.