The spring evaluation period has been kind to Isaac James (Carmel, Ind.), to say the least. Entering April, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound receiver/cornerback/quarterback held just two offers from Akron and Indiana but has since added verbals from Western Michigan, Illinois, Toledo, Army, Navy, Ball State and Ohio. Meanwhile, Maryland, Northwestern and Ohio State have shown interest, with NU being the most likely to offer next.
"The recruiting has been going very, very well recently. It's picked up a lot in the open period," said James, who runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash while boasting a 3.5 GPA. "A lot of coaches just wanted to see me in person, and once they did the offers started coming. I also scored a 115 in the Nike SPARQ combine, and when people saw that score I got some offers off of that."
Maryland, which sent assistant Chad Wilt out to Indiana at the beginning of May, is intrigued by James' speed. James said Wilt hasn't told him exactly what position the Terps want him at, but his talent and athleticism alone were enough to garner a second, or third, look.
"Coach Wilt likes me measurables and he told me he's going to get me evaluated and maybe they'll offer after that," James said. "We're friends on Facebook, so he'll get in touch with me there and let me know what's up. He said he's looking forward to seeing me soon out for a visit at Maryland. He seems like a really good guy – an energetic guy."
James has been on the East Coast but never to the state of Maryland. He said he'd love to visit at some point this summer, however, perhaps for a one-day camp if he's able to make it out in June.
"Maryland is definitely a school I want to check out," James said. "I have to talk to my parents about it since Maryland is a new school that started recruiting me, but they're usually pretty good about getting me out to the places I want to see. And since I do want to see Maryland, I think I should be able to get out there.
"Coach Wilt, when I talked to him on-line, he was telling me about the Under Armour connection and that seemed really neat. He said the team is really close and they have some great receivers there. I'm looking forward to learning more about the school."
The Indiana athlete may not know a ton about UMD yet, but he's well aware the Terps are shifting to the Big Ten. Living in Hoosiers country, James knows all about Maryland's new conference.
"The Big Ten move is definitely something to pay attention to. I live in Big Ten country, so I know that brand of football," James said. "It's a very competitive conference, but the education along with the athletics at those schools is great. There's a different feeling in the Big Ten, like the players are coached differently. Like on the West Coast, you have some teams that are all about flash, but in the Big Ten it's all about tradition, and that's what I like."
James has already taken visits to Northwestern, Western Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana, the latter of which he's visited five times. His most recent trip to NU, however, left an impression, and it's a school that has James' attention.
"Northwestern was really nice. It's right next to a lake and it's in downtown Chicago, which is very cool," James said. "They have outstanding academics there and a good program. Their coaches are actually coming to watch me [May 5] so I think they might offer after that. I'll definitely consider [Northwestern] if they do [offer]."
Indiana and Illinois have caught James' eye as well. Both schools have offered and represent two of the larger programs recruiting him.
"I've been to IU five times and it's definitely familiar to me. It's really nice, I know a lot of the players and I know all the coaches," said James, who noted that he has no favorite schools or ideal suitors. "When I go there it's not really a recruiting visit; it's like going to a friend's house. And Illinois, I was there March 6. It was a really nice structure, and I liked how the two cities it's located in are combined. I also saw a practice there, and it was really nice.
"But, really, all the schools I saw were nice and some better than I though they'd be. All of them had nice campuses, and I'm just glad I saw them because my perception changed."
James said Stanford, Virginia Tech, Maryland and maybe Wisconsin and Alabama trips are on tap. He'll start visits again once track season ends as he's currently running the 4-by-100, the 100 and doing the long jump for Carmel.
"When track season ends I'm sure I'll get back out and into football recruiting and workouts again," said James, who runs a 10.8-second 100. "I get together with the other quarterbacks and receivers every Monday, but it'll pick up more when I don't have to go to track practice."
Last year James had more than 1,000 rushing yards and 300 passing yards. Carmel runs the read-option, allowing James to use his speed and athleticism to rack up yards in the open field.
He said college coaches have actually evaluated him at receiver, quarterback and cornerback, with offers coming for all three positions.
"It really varies; it's pretty even with all three positions. Indiana said receiver, Illinois said receiver or cornerback, and Maryland just said athlete," James said. "I really like offense, but where I play on offense is going to depend on what school I go to and their system. Receiver or quarterback – I can play either, so we'll see how it turns out."
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