He rushed for team highs of 742 yards and nine touchdowns (10 total TDs), the fourth-most yards by a Jayhawk freshman in school history and eighth among NCAA freshmen in 2010. Sims recorded three 100-yard rushing games (including his debut game against No. 15 Georgia Tech), tied for second-most by a freshman in KU annals.
And he also tied school records with four touchdowns and 24 points in
KU's historic comeback victory over Colorado.
But now entering his sophomore season, James Sims wants more. Much more.
He's aiming to become just the 11th player in KU history to rush for at
least 1,000 yards in a season.
"It's been my goal ever since last season ended," Sims said at KU Media
Day on Aug. 9. "I'm pretty confident. The offensive line has gotten
better. We've gotten better as an offensive unit just moving the ball
Sims, who started four games last season, should get plenty of
opportunities to crack 1,000 yards as the team's top running back. But
even though he'll be the starter, Sims isn't taken anything for granted
as KU kicks off its season opener on Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT) against
McNeese State at Memorial Stadium.
"It makes me work harder," Sims said. "Coach (Turner) Gill made it
clear that you got to continue to earn it and work hard and push myself
to get better."
The 6-foot, 206-pound Sims knows he'll get some help in the backfield
with guys like freshman Darian Miller and redshirt freshman Brandon Bourbon, who are both listed second on the depth chart. Freshman burner
Anthony Pierson should also be in the mix for playing time.
"We got a lot of talent at running back," Sims said. "We're all going
to need a lot of running backs this season because we're going to run
the ball heavily. I feel that's what you need is the running game to
start well and then that opens up the passing game."
As Sims said, the running game should be bolstered by an improved
offensive line, which includes a quicker and lighter Jeremiah Hatch
(he's lost 35 pounds) and the return of Jeff Spikes, who sat out last
season with a leg injury.
"Without them (O-line), we would be nothing," Sims said. "They're
opening up some big holes this fall. I'm just hoping it carries over to
Sims hopes to run through those holes as a faster running back who
"worked on my burst and my cuts" during the offseason. And that hard
work could pay big dividends for him and the Jayhawks this fall.
"He's focused," Gill said. "He has a good approach every day about
coming to work, getting better, talking to (running backs) coach
(Reggie) Mitchell, talking to myself and the things he needs to do to
be the best running back, not only at the University of Kansas, but
hopefully in the Big 12 Conference."
While he had a major impact last season and is the team's top running
back again this year, Sims said he's still the same humble young man
who arrived at Mount Oread in 2010 after a stellar career at MacArthur
High School in Irving, Texas.
Sims, who patterns his game after NFL stars Reggie Bush and Adrian Peterson, is also confident and optimistic about a big season ahead
after having one of the best freshman seasons by a running back in
"That was my goal coming from high school to play right way and it
happened," Sims said. "It's a blessing. I'm just going to continue to
build from it and work hard and just get better."
Sims Wants More
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