Alec James showed speed and fluidity in his workouts in Memorial Stadium Sunday. The Brookfield East defensive end has tremendous upside, although he feels his work at the NFTC camp didn't show his entire arsenal of gifts.
"It was good. It was a little tough because I got in late last night due to our state track tournament on Friday and Saturday. We didn't get home until 12:00 am and had to leave again at 4:00 am. So it was a little tough."
Was the trip worthwhile?
"It was definitely worth it, just to have the learning experience. Going against better competition."
The more camps one attends, the easier it is to relax and perform well. James hasn't had many experiences working against top competition.
"This is the first camp like this I've ever attended. When I was young, I used to go to the Northern Iowa camp. And I went to the Wisconsin camp. Those are pretty much the only two camps I've gone to.
James is a tremendous all-around athlete. His track focus combines speed and power, a tremendous combination for a college defensive end.
"I do the 4 X 100, 4 X 200, open 100, open 200 and shot put. My best time in the 100 was either 11.1 or 10.9."
Not surprisingly, the 6'-3", 220 pounder credits his athletic uniqueness for his football skills.
"Probably my speed, and being able to convert speed to power when I need to. And understanding the game."
Hard work will allow for continued development.
"I want to work on pass rush a lot more. Less thinking and just reaction. And working on every part of my game. There's no one thing I want to focus on, I just want to get better."
James demonstrated good technique while going through defensive line drills at the NFTC, and he was grateful to have that pointed out.
"Thank you, I appreciate that. I definitely thank my coaches; they prepare me for the next level."
The next level will allow James his choice of top schools.
"Wisconsin, Michigan State, Clemson, Illinois and Notre Dame are the top ones right now."
Is it a foregone conclusion he will end up with his home state school?
"I definitely like Wisconsin just because it's my home state and close to my family. But that doesn't mean I want to go there. It's nice, but my family thinks I should go where I'm comfortable."
Luke Butkus is the Illinois recruiter involved with James.
"Coach Butkus came down and talked to me, so it was nice meeting him."
The Illini may be fighting an uphill battle for his services, but they have a chance if they can get him back to campus for a visit.
"I probably will visit Illinois sometime this summer."