Were it up to Davie County RB James Arnold, recruiting would probably be over by now. The Mocksville, NC native makes no effort to hide the fact that he would love nothing more than the opportunity to play college football at NC State in 2005.
Last season Arnold was one of the state's most accomplished two-way threats. Lining up as RB and QB, he ran for better than 1,900 yards and 26 touchdowns. On defense Arnold collected 35 tackles, five interceptions and four pass-breakups despite moving to defense later in the year. For his efforts, Arnold was named all-conference, conference player-of-the-year and all-region.
The versatile athlete talked about his ability to hold down several positions.
"Last season I started off playing RB but by conference time they moved me to QB," said Arnold. "We run a lot of I formation. If I'm at TB, then we do a lot of running out of the I. If I'm at QB then we do a lot of running out of the shot gun. I didn't get to play defense until later on in the year."
Earlier this spring Arnold made the trip to Charlottesville to find out how he measured against some of the region's other top prospects. He checked in at 5-10, 175 pounds and ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash. Perhaps most impressive was his blistering shuttle time of 3.84-seconds.
To date Arnold has received recruiting interest from NC State, Auburn, Notre Dame, UNC, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Virginia and Maryland among others. Auburn was the first to offer a scholarship and East Carolina followed suit recently. Arnold fielded calls in May from Tennessee, East Carolina, Virginia Tech and NC State.
Auburn's early offer certainly caught Arnold's eye and the Tigers have kept up the recruiting pressure through the month of May.
"Auburn, they're recruiting me the hardest right now," said Arnold. "They've called a couple of times and they send me a lot of stuff. They're trying to get me to their camp."
Despite the Auburn interest, they aren't currently in Arnold's top five with the standout athlete leaning heavily towards programs closer to home.
"Right now my favorites are NC State, UNC, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Virginia. State's number one though. They came by school and they've called me once. They've got a real good program and their facilities are real nice. You know, Pat Lowery's up there but he hasn't really been trying to sell NC State to me. Actually I was letting him know how much I liked them. Coach Amato- he's a really good coach and he knows what he's doing."
Arnold scored a 790 on his first attempt at the SAT and will be taking the test again on June 5. He plans to major in Computer Engineering.