The Iowa Hawkeyes valued the commodity of Fred Russell so much that they have been looking for a replacement ever since he left the program for the NFL. While they may not be looking for an every down back of that size, they will now look to feature a guy like James in the many ways they could have used Russell.
With limited depth, Russell was forced to assume the majority of carries, especially with the injured Jermelle Lewis in 2003, and he was not able to return kicks and be used in the slot nearly as much as Iowa would have hoped liked.
In the case of James, it appears Iowa would even consider using his size on the other side of the ball.
"Iowa was the first school to mention to me about the possibility of playing cornerback," said James. "Most schools are recruiting me as either a slot receiver or running back. I know Iowa likes me as a running back, too, as the coach told me he liked my speed, toughness, and ability to make people miss."
James says he only received the Hawkeye offer within the past week.
"They first wrote my parents saying an offer was coming, and then the next day I received it. It came with a hand-written letter from Coach Ferentz, who wrote that he was impressed with my film and looked forward to talking to me. I am supposed to call-in later this month, I believe on the 28th," stated James.
"I have a few Big Ten offers, but now that I have one from Iowa, it is from the cream of the crop if you look at their success the past couple seasons," added Jones, who also lists Penn State and Illinois as being two programs that have offered. "They approach a BCS bowl every year, and keep getting better. Of course, they are a program that I'm pretty high on right now."
Now to clarify the issue I know has probably been on your mind thus far in the article, and that is James' size. In the Scout.com database, you see him listed at 5'9, but if you look at his Jacksonville combine data, you will see that he measured in at 5-6.5.
"I am five-foot-six and half inches, and I'm alright with that. I know my size has caused a few schools to be skeptical, but the ones I know that have real interest in me are the schools that have offered and see my ability out on the football field. I play bigger than my size," stated a confident James.
James listed Penn State, South Carolina, the Hawkeyes, Louisville, and Illinois as the programs that have offered & whom he is currently the most interested in. Other than that, there are three southern programs that have taken notice and could be options down the road.
"Florida State sent me a letter last week inviting me to their one day camp, and I'm going to attend it next week. That is basically my hometown, and I grew up a huge Seminole fan so it'd be cool to receive an offer from them. I'm going to a one-day camp at Auburn in July, and I know their running back coach likes me a lot. Tennessee sent their coach down here in May, and he watched quite a bit of me in spring ball, and I know they have serious interest," said James.
James does not plan to decide soon, and in fact, believes at this time he will use all five official visits. Will Iowa be one those visits?
"I'd have to say as of right now Iowa would be one of my five official visits. They are one of the big time programs recruiting me and I want to show those school who me strong interest the same in return."