McConico ready to give everyone a show

Rated as one of the top 10 backs in the country you'd think it's good times for Compton, California's James McConico. Well, it is and it isn't. The attention has been great. He's got offers galore, and his future is set. But as highly regarded as he is, James seems to hear a lot about what he can't do. And he said he's going to prove them wrong.

James McConico averaged almost 20 yards per rush last year.


On just 62 carries he notched a whopping 1,234 yards along with 14 touchdowns. Break that down a bit more and every fifth carry he was heading to the house.

At 5-11 and 195 pounds, this young man has got something going for him.

But there are still some who say he has something going against him, as well.

"They say I'm not physical. They say I can't run between the tackles. I'm just a juke-type of back, and I can't put my head down and run over people," McConico said of remarks he's heard about himself from critics.

Not only does he think those remarks are unfounded, but in a way, kind of dumb. When you can average what he's averaged, running the way he does, being physical isn't using your head. "Some guys run others over, because that's what they do. They can't get to the edge. They can't cut in the open field. They can't lose someone with their speed," he said. "Why would I waste all that effort to run through someone when I have been running right past them and around them up to now?

"That would just be dumb."

His numbers back him up, and if you are one who likes the rankings and the stars, he's got those, too. Oh, and then there is the matter of the double-digit amount of offers he has, and his potential only seems to be garnering more interest from more schools around the country.

Recruiting has been something McConico has tried to take in perspective. Basically, it's about appreciating the opportunity, but not letting the opportunity get in the way of what got you those offers in the first place. As the kids like to say, ‘keepin' it real.'

"Oh absolutely. You can easily get a big head about you and start thinking you have really done something. I haven't even begun to do what I am capable of doing," he said. "The last thing I am going to do is stop being me, and that's someone who tries to make myself the best player I can be. I'll never stop doing that."

Because recruiting hasn't really been the complete focus, the teams on his list have jumped around, on and off, the new offers always seeming to change the picture just a touch. But at this point of the year James realizes it's time to start bringing that picture a little more into focus. "I'm pretty much done with my unofficial visits. So, now I am just thinking about where I am going to take my official visits," he said.

"These are good, because it will be a chance to see some of the schools I wasn't able to. So, I can get a better feeling for those programs and what they have to offer."

The short list right now for those visits includes Oregon, Arizona, Notre Dame and potentially Nebraska.

Oregon comes into the picture from a camp visit a friend of his made. It was a camp he was to also make himself, but couldn't. Word-of-mouth, though, was enough to convince him that this was a place he definitely needed to see. "He said it was awesome. He said it was beautiful up there, and I really need to go up there and see it," he said. "I'm excited to see what it's like, because you never know. I'm looking for a visit where I just say that this is it, this is where I want to play for four years. Where do I sign up?"

When it comes to Nebraska James said that there are no fabulous recaps of visits there from friends, as nobody he knows has been there to see what it's like. He just knows what he hears. "They win. I heard they win a lot of games there, and they have one of the loudest stadiums you will ever be in, they have big time attendance there and they do get players to the NFL," he said. "As far as majors go, that's something I still have to look into."

Secondary Coach Marvin Sanders is his primary recruiter, because this region of California is his. But as you can figure, Nebraska thinks enough of McConico that Running Backs Coach Tim Beck has also been recruiting him.

Them getting an official, though, is huge. It is for any school, of course, because James said that his head will tell him a lot about these programs from the major to the population, the tradition to the region of the country. But in order to hit the right buttons, he's got to see it for himself.

"My heart isn't set on any school. And I can't feel that until I get to see the place. You just don't know until you do," he said. "All those schools I mentioned, and a lot of others I have already seen, are schools I am definitely considering. When my heart tells me where to go, I'll go. I don't know when that's going to be."

Nebraska looks like a potential visit for McConico, but not a sure thing as of yet. Certainly not as certain as Oregon, and probably somewhere in the area of Arizona and Notre Dame. But he gets five official visits, and McConico plans on making the most of it. "I'm excited to see these places I didn't get a chance to see. It's just another way to have more options for my future," he said.

"I'm looking forward to that. But I'm also really looking forward to my senior season, because I think we are going to have a pretty good team. And I obviously have more I want to prove."

Yeah, back to what they say, whoever "they" are. It's not that James considers himself obsessed with it. He just wants people to understand the game. You do what you do, which is exactly what he does. But he said don't be surprised if this year you don't see something a little different. "I have some tricks up my sleeve. I have some things I am going to do. Anyone coming to any of our games are going to be in for some excitement," he said. "I'm going to be me. I am not going to start running like others say I should run, because that's not me, and I'd say that it's not bad either. Just show up, come to the game or whatever. We'll give you something to see."

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