TE James Dominates at LFL

The Nittany Lion junior impressed many Saturday, including his new strength coach.

The most dangerous man in Penn State's 2014 Lift For Life strength and conditioning event?

The Outlaw, of course — Jesse James.

The Nittany Lions' ever-growing junior tight end was a dominant performer as the offense came away with a 30-24 victory over the defense. Don't bother asking us how it was scored, because we're not even sure the program's strength staff could supply a straight answer there.

But James, who doubles as marketing director for the PSU chapter of Uplifting Athletes (which stages LFL), impressed everyone on hand at the Lacrosse Field across from Holuba Hall. That included new strength coach Dwight Galt III.

“He's a freak,” Galt said.

Why?

Well, because he dead-lifted 500 pounds a dozen times. And he bench-pressed 225 28 times.

“Jesse James is 6-foot-6, he weighs 272 right now,” Galt explained. “He's bigger than a couple of our offensive linemen. Safeties can't cover him in one-on-ones. They can't keep up with him. He's fast.

“You all saw him dead-lift 500 until he decided to quit (at LFL),” Galt added. “He benched 400 (earlier in the summer). He cleaned 355 — he should have had 365. I mean, we're talking national elite numbers.”

“He's bigger than a couple of our offensive linemen. Safeties can't cover him in one-on-ones. They can't keep up with him. He's fast."

In the dead-lift competition, James went head to head with defensive tackle Anthony Zettel. When Zettel conked out, James kept right on going. When it was over, Zettel could only shake his hand.

According to Galt, that sort of performance is typical for James.

“Athletically — talent-wise — there's not another tight end in the country better than him, for sure,” Galt said. “He's got speed. He's got strength. He's got agility. He's got size. He's got everything. And he's got desire.

“It'll be interesting to see how Jesse does this year,” he added. “Our tight end crew could be a special group, and he's the leader of the pack.”

Galt, who had previous stints as strength coach at Maryland and Vanderbilt, said there was a time when five of the tight ends he worked with were in the NFL. That included All-Pro Vernon Davis of the 49ers and Dan Gronkowski (the brother of Rob), both Maryland products.

“To get a guy that big who does what (James) does — I haven't seen that,” Galt said. “I'll put Jesse James up there with any of them. The kid is really that athletic.”


Fight On State Top Stories