Since his freshman season, James has started at cornerback for Davie, which regularly puts players in the Division I-A ranks. The 6-foot, 180-pounder burst onto the recruiting scene during the summer before his sophomore season when he clocked a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at a combine held in Charlotte.
"Perry is a big defensive back ideal to go up against these bigger receivers that people are starting to see, so that's very advantageous ," Davie County head football coach Doug Illing said. "He can run a 4.4 consistently, so he's legitimately fast. At his position, [college coaches] are looking for size and speed."
Davie ended up defeating North Mecklenburg, 14-11, and advanced to the third round of the NCHSAA 4AA playoffs. James didn't practice the following week, but played with a shoulder brace against eventual state champion Independence.
"[My shoulder] didn't come out during the Independence game, but I just wasn't me out there," James said.
Independence easily disposed of Davie, 40-19.
With the shoulder injury not perceived to be serious, James went on to play basketball for Davie. However, his right shoulder constantly popped out of place throughout the season.
Prior to his junior season, James' shoulder problems continued during Davie's summer football workouts and it came to a head at Catawba College's Team Camp.
"I was guarding a receiver and I went to knock the ball down," James said. "I had my brace on and it still popped out with my brace on.
"We all decided just for me to go ahead and have surgery and just be healthy and strong for my senior year."
On August 1st, James had surgery on his right shoulder, ending his junior season before it even began.
"They said it was my rotator cuff," James said. "They said there were just a bunch of ligaments in my shoulder that I stretched out so bad that I would have had to have surgery regardless. They had to go in there and shorten them up and put cords on them."
Now finished with rehab, James' shoulder is 100-percent and isn't expected to give him any problems in the future.
However, sitting out last season has hurt James' recruiting stock.
"Not playing a snap last year is kind of hurting him with recruiting because he doesn't have any junior tape to show anybody," Illing said. "… Because he went to that combine before his sophomore year and posted a 4.4 time, he has his name out there as a prospect. Unfortunately for him he'd have some offers if he had some film."
James should have plenty of film following his senior season.
"He'll never come off the field," Illing said. "He'll be a receiver, DB, kick returner – we'll get the ball in his hands. He's a big playmaker. At any time he can have the opportunity to bust one loose, so we've got to have that on the field."
The lack of film hasn't stopped a slew of schools from recruiting James, including Clemson, Duke, East Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, LSU, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Wake Forest.
Furthermore, James has spoken personally with coaches from Clemson, East Carolina, UNC, NC State, Tennessee, and Wake Forest.
From North Carolina, James has conversed with Steve Hagen, UNC's area recruiter.
"Since I didn't play last year, he wants me to come down to camp to work out and perform for the coaches," James said.
In addition to accepting Hagen's invitation, James plans to camp at NC State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Wake Forest.
James said right now he is favoring three schools.
"I like Illinois," James said. "I haven't even been up to Illinois, but their coaches always call here and check-up on me and they send me stuff about their school. And I like their coach.
"And [I like] Tennessee. My cousin [Andre James] played there when I was young and that's where we went a lot, and I like the school a lot.
"And I like Carolina, too. Carolina is just a nice place."
James has attended Wake Forest's Junior Day, and plans on attending a junior day at Tennessee this weekend.
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