After red-shirting the 2005 season due to a shoulder injury, WR Geron James entered the 2006 season as one of NC State’s more promising skill players. The lanky wideout had proven to be a handful in practice and that finally translated onto the football field when the Pack matched up against Florida State last year. James led State that evening with four catches for 91 yards, including a key 10-yard touchdown reception that cut the Seminole’s lead to 20-17. For one game, James played like a veteran and the Florida State defensive backs found him almost impossible to stop.
However, James’ time in the spotlight would be brief. Although he would play in five more games that year, he would only make two more catches for 24 yards with both of those occurring during the Pack’s loss to Georgia Tech. Many wondered how a player with so much potential could all but vanish from the offense nearly as quickly as he had surfaced.
Behind the scenes, rumors had started to circulate that called into question James’ dedication both on and off the football field. Whatever the exact reason, James left the Wolfpack football program in February of 2007.
Although off the football team, head coach Tom O’Brien left the door open for a return at some point in the future but the staff wanted James to prove his maturity off the field first. Over the last several months James has been taking classes at a local community college to prove he’s re-dedicated himself in the classroom and now he finds himself on track to rejoin the Wolfpack in January.
|"It's a done deal."|
“It’s a done deal,” said James. “I’ll be back in January. I had to go to school down here (Cape Fear Community College) and show the coaches I could get some good grades and that I was serious about my class work and that’s what I’ve done.”
In hindsight, James said he realizes now he didn’t have the maturity he needed to take on the rigors of balancing division one football and the demands in the classroom.
“It was a maturity thing,” said James. “I had a little problem with that where I just wasn’t as mature as I needed to be. The class room comes first and you just have to figure out a way to stay focused on that and the football field at the same time.”
James has been a frequent visitor to Carter-Finley Stadium for the Wolfpack’s home games this year. While he has found it difficult to take on the role of spectator, James said it’s served as motivation to keep him focused on his long term goal of returning to NC State.
“It’s been tough and depressing at times,” he said. “I go up there as much as I do because it’s motivation to do what I need to do in the classroom and to be able to come back. But I’ll tell you, I see the guys after the game and I’ve been happy for them seeing them make plays and having success.”
Now at 6-4, 225 pounds, James has obviously added size during his time away and he said he’s been hard at work to make sure he’s ready when off season workouts begin.
“I’ve been working hard to stay in shape,” he said. “I had been working with a sprint coach, in the weight room. It’s just been crazy. I was at 205 (pounds) and now I’m up to 225. I’ve still got the speed and now I’ve got the size. When I get back, it’s definitely going to be exciting.”