Penn State Checks Out DB James

Ron Vanderlinden stopped by Philly West Catholic to learn more about the athletic prospect. See what James had to say about the visit.

Shaquille James had played wide receiver all throughout his high school career. But suddenly, three games into his junior season at Philadelphia's West Catholic High, he got moved to cornerback.

He was unsure of the switch, but after the first week, James won the MaxPreps' Player of the Week award, and finished the season as a first-team All-Catholic League defensive back. He earned All-State honors, as well.

“I never thought I would become a defensive back, but my third game I started there because the coaches needed my abilities on defense,” James said.

Penn State has been busy loading up its June 2 camp date recently, and it added one more to that list. James will camp after meeting with linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden Thursday.

“It was a good meeting. They said they are looking for cornerbacks because they only had a few, and to come to camp,” James said.

James was pleasantly surprised to see Penn State show up at his school.

“I was shocked to hear from Penn State,” he said. “But when I think of Penn State, I think of a winner, and I think of a team that isn't afraid to play who's good, even if that talent is young.”

He also noted that he was impressed with Vanderlinden.

“I think coach Vandy is real; there is nothing fake about him,” James said. “He talked about getting a degree and the guys that are going to the NFL this year, and he really wanted me to come to camp.”

As for when he'll make a decision, James is still unsure. He originally thought he wanted to make it before the season starts, but now thinks Signing Day may be the right time. That's unless the Nittany Lions come calling.

“If Penn State offered me, it would be a snap decision for me to commit because they need defensive backs, and it was always my dream school,” he said.

SHORT SHOT: Speaking of changing positions, current Nittany Lion and West Catholic grad Curtis Drake spent the first three years of his college career at receiver before being moved to defensive back. He is a redshirt junior.

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