Last April the 6-foot-5, 332-pounder showed off his raw power and quick burst at the Baton Rouge Nike Combine, and after his junior campaign was complete scouts were calling James one of the country’s most promising defensive tackles from the 2012 class.
Still, there is work to be done.
“I am trying to be in the best shape of my life,” he said. “I have been working with a personal trainer. I am running every day. On weekends I can probably fit in 12 total miles. It’s just been a lot of endurance work.
“My goal is to get my weight low enough to where I am an every down player. I want to be about 300 (pounds). If I can clean up a bit and then get my footwork perfect, I’ll be hard to stop.”
“That’s where I am at right now,” said James, who said that he is also hearing from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Georgia Tech. “Of the offers I have, I really like LSU. I’m also hoping Alabama offers because I am interested in them, too. Those are my top schools right now.”
What about LSU caught the Magnolia State standouts eye?
“Seeing the campus and being at a game was great,” said James, who took in LSU’s win over Alabama in Death Valley last November. “It was more than I expected, so it sort of blew me away. It was one trip I really remembered after going back home.
“I also like coach Brick Haley. He seems like a cool coach and he told me they are really interested. They wanted to get me in for Junior Day but I couldn’t make it. That’s when we started talking about the offer more and how they could see me being a Tiger.”
In an interview with Scout.com’s Chad Simmons, James talked about the possibility of leaving home for college.
“I will go anywhere,” he said. “I just want to win. I do not want to play for a one hit or one-year wonder, but I want to play for a program that wins consistently. I want to be around winners and if it takes me away from Mississippi, that is ok. I will go anywhere as long as I feel I can win while I am there.”
James also said that he has no timeframe for a decision.
“I want to show everyone I am a true All-American next season,” he said. “I want to be the best. I want to be number one. I work hard, I compete, and I hope to play in one of the All-American games. I could announce my commitment there if I am ready, but I am definitely planning to take my time.”