Package Deal For Florida Brothers?

When a high school football team is blessed to have two legitimate Divison I prospects on its roster, there is often a natural inclination that they will be a package deal; where one goes, so must the other. When two recruits from the same team are half-brothers, the speculation as to a package deal is further fortified.

St. Augustine (Fla.) High cornerback Jacques Rickerson and running back Brandon James, half-brothers, are being recruited by some of the same schools across the country. But are they a package deal?

“With [Rickerson], he's has a lot more offers than I do,” James said. “With me, it's more of the Big Ten schools, more schools that fit what I do. We're both looking at Penn State, but it's not like if you get one of us, you'll get the other.”

Rickerson shared the same thoughts. While he and James are not a package deal, there is still a chance the two might end up playing college football together at the same school.

“We're doing a little bit of both,” Rickerson said. “We're looking at some of the same schools.”

Specifically, Rickerson listed Penn State, Louisville, South Carolina and Iowa as schools in which he and James are jointly interested and have been extended offers. And, despite suffering a hip flexor injury two weeks ago, no school has backed off recruiting the 5-foot-10, 180-pound four-star prospect.

However, a few weeks back, it was reported that Rickerson had narrowed down his choices to Auburn and Florida. Rickerson denied the report.

“I don't have any leaders, I don't know why they put that,” Rickerson said. “I'm wide open.”

With respect to Penn State, Rickerson specifically mentioned that part of the reason he was interested was because of the Nittany Lions' favorable depth chart at the cornerback spot.

“I have a real high interest in Penn State because they have a lot of upperclassmen in the secondary,” he said. “Being able to play for Joe Paterno would be an honor.”

As for James, some have speculated that his future in college football is on the defensive side of the ball. At 5-7 and 175 pounds, some write off James as too small to be an every-down running back. Yet James' interest rests on the offensive side of the ball. In fact, James plays almost exclusively on offense for St. Augustine, whether at running back, slot receiver or H-back, but will occasionally get some playing time on defense when needed.

“Penn State said they are recruiting me at running back and playing a little slot,” James said. “I'd like to stay on offense, either running back or receiver, but I really don't want to switch to defense.”

James stated that Iowa and Illinois are looking at him as a cornerback. His versatility and athleticism have colleges deciding which side of the ball to play him.

“Basically just speed, I try to hit holes quick,” James said when asked of his strengths. “Sometimes, I will run over guys, but I [think] most of my running is built on speed and vision.”

Breaking from what may be considered its dubious trend, Penn State has offered several prospects from Florida early on in the recruiting process. Given the fertile area for college players, the Nittany Lions' coaching staff is attempting to work on forging in-roads into the Sunshine State. For two touted prospects like Rickerson and James, is there a pressure to remain in state and attend one of the big three Florida schools: Miami, Florida, and Florida State?

“Not really, I mean because I don't feel the pressure because none of [the Florida schools] have shown me any interest,” James said. “Florida State has recruited me, but it's been off and on. I just want to go to a place where I can get on the field as early as possible and contribute.”

In brotherly fashion, Rickerson agreed.

“I don't have any pressure on me,” he said. “It's my decision.”

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