To hear Jamie Kohl tell it, James French is "prolific". Jamie Kohl should know. He's the founder of one of the leading kicking camps in the country, associated with most of the major D1 Conferences and host to over 90 camps per year. Yes, James French has "it" as a kicker. And the Texas record books back that up.
KStateFans caught up with Jamie Kohl recently to get some background info on James French, kicker for China Springs, Tx High School. "James is prolific, no doubt. He's got a strong leg. It'll only get stronger. But the thing that we've been most impressed with is his accuracy in field goal kicking and his consistency. He really does have a top level technical kicking process already."
Hosting over 90 kicking camps a year, with 55 coaches involved, Kohl sees hundreds of kickers come through his training academies. Focusing not only on the mechanics of kicking, but also on competitive kicking – kicking when it counts, Kohl lauded French's mentality: "James WINS. He wins kicking competitions. He knows how to kick when the pressure is on and when the points count. We've been running camps for 10 years now, and James is a special talent. He's really established himself in the 3 camps of ours that he attended, and I know he's been to other camps as well and won competitions. He can kick, punt and kick field goals. James is a very well-rounded kicker, and he was very successful at the high school level."
Successful at the high school level? That might be a wee bit of an understatement. Over the past two seasons James broke a 20 year old Texas High School record with 111 (yes, one hundred eleven) consecutive PAT's. Tell me the last time you did anything 111 times in a row without failing.
So, how did Kansas State come across this kicking gem? "I attended Coach Rodger's fathers camp down here in Texas, and I won the kicking competition" said French. "I guess Coach Rodgers originally spotted me there, and the recruiting process began in January. There was a little bit of back and forth with the coaching change, but after about 2 weeks I got a call from Sean Snyder and we just went from there." Sean Snyder would know a thing or two about kicking at Kansas State, being a former All American punter for the Wildcats in the 1990's.
"There's some competition for the kicking jobs at Kansas State. I think the punters will be DJ Fulhage and George Pierson, but for the kickoffs and field goals, it should come down to me and Josh Cherry. When I talked with Sean Snyder and Coach Snyder, it was all about competing for one of the kicking spots and I'll try for a scholarship that way. I'll be a preferred walk-on at first, but I want to win a scholarship."
During our conversation, James was kind enough to "volunteer" to do a 10 Spot segment with KStateFans, and we'll bring that to you now.
1. What about Kansas State first caught your eye?
"The contact with Coach Rodgers was the first thing. I attended his fathers camp, and we just had good contact from the beginning. But when I saw that Coach Snyder was coming back, that really increased my interest level. I really like the sense of family they have up there with the coaches at Kansas State. I haven't yet visited the campus, but I will attend the Spring Game and get to see the campus and facilities then."
2. What was your deciding factor in committing to the Wildcats?
"The opportunity to play. I know I'm coming in as a preferred walk-on, but the opportunity is there for me. Josh Cherry is a good kicker, and he also attended Jamie Kohl's camps. But I do have an opportunity to win a kicking spot and that's all you can ask for. Also, the educational opportunity. I want to major in Criminology and I'm looking forward to that. "
3. What are three words that describe you as a person?
"FUN. OUTGOING. LAX. I'm kind of a "stay-at-home" guy, but I do like to have fun and I'm a friendly guy."
4. What are three words that describe you as a football player?
"Well, I can't really say in three words. But if I could say in one sentence, it would be I THRIVE UNDER PRESSURE. The more pressure, the better I feel about performing."
5. What is your favorite thing to do on the football field?
"Just watching everyone put it all out on the line and being part of a team in that sense."
6. What is your favorite thing to do off the field?
"Mostly hang out with my friends. I play Call To Duty on Xbox a lot too, and NCAA Football. I'm into all kinds of music – really all kinds. My musical taste is all over the map. I just finished up with soccer season here – my favorite team is Arsenal. And now I am running track. I like to do a bit of fishing as well. Most of my friends here in Texas are hunters and fishers, so I do some fishing."
7. If you don't go on to play in the NFL, what would you like to do?
"I actually had a talk with my mom about this today. I really would like to be part of a SWAT team or Hostage Rescue in the FBI. I'm majoring in Criminology, so that's the path I'd like to be on."
8. What are you most looking forward to in terms of playing for Kansas State?
"I have 1 goal – to compete and get on the field early."
9. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge in moving from high school to college?
"Adjusting to a new climate. I think it's a bit colder in Winter in Kansas. Moving to a new town, also. I haven't been out of Texas too much, except for camps and stuff. But I'm looking forward to it."
10. Who is the one player on Kansas State's roster, or in your recruiting class, that you are most excited to be teammates with next season?
"John Hubert. He's over at Midland High School in Waco, and I was really impressed with his performance this past season. I don't know him well personally, but I did follow his accomplishments on the field for Midland. He's impressive."