James Ready For Challenge

SPARTANBURG, S.C. --- North Carolina verbal commitment Jarrod James will play left tackle for North Carolina's Shrine Bowl squad. Therefore the 6-foot-4, 280-pounder will likely be pitted against five-star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney for much of Saturday's game.

"I checked out [Clowney's] film, he's a pretty good player," James said. "Everybody's been telling me about him like he's this, that, and the third. People have been really dogging me about it – like I'm just going to step out there. I didn't come across North Carolina state lines to be on somebody's highlight film. I came out here to win."

James, a Pikeville (N.C.) Aycock product, is really looking forward to the challenge.

"He's a good player and I give him all his credit, because his accomplishments speak for themselves," James said. "But at the same time, he doesn't know me just like I don't know him. We've never played against each other."

With the challenge at hand, James has been extra focused this week.

"I don't have any time to relax," James said. "I can't take a play off. If I do, I'm just going to get embarrassed – plain and simple.

"It's good for me, because this week preparing for a guy to the best of my abilities is going to make me a better player."

Before arriving in Spartanburg on Saturday, James watched a lot of film online of South Carolina's players.

"Everybody's fast, everybody's strong," James said. "Now it comes down to who wants it more."

Although he's projected to play offensive guard at UNC, James has predominately played left tackle during his high school career. Therefore, position-wise, there's not much he's had to adjust to in preparation for the Shrine Bowl.

"[The NC coaches] are asking me to reestablish the line-of-scrimmage," James said. "They're really asking us for a big push. We have a big offensive line [and] all the guys up here are great. So our coaches are telling us we really need to reestablish the line-of-scrimmage."

When he isn't preparing for South Carolina, James is spending time with the other UNC verbal commitments on his team.

"It's been fun, because everybody has character," James said. "Devonte [Brown] is the smooth guy. Eric [Ebron] is the funny guy. T.J. [Thorpe] is a combination of the two. Everybody has their qualities about them."

James has also been doing some recruiting for the Tar Heels. However, he prefers to allow his play speak for him.

"The way I play, if a guy on the offense or a guy on the defense says ‘Hey, look at this guy. I wonder where he's going. I want to play where he's going to be playing at,'" James said. "Then I tell him ‘North Carolina.' Then they think ‘I want to play at North Carolina, too, because I want to play alongside this guy.'"

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