If anything is going to prepare a football player for dealing with the attention and demands of a big time college program, it would be playing in a football crazed state like Texas. However, even the demands that come with playing in a 5A program like L.D. Bell can't begin to compare with even the smallest college programs. Lucky for James Mauro, he's already been through the process twice.
James has the benefit of watching his brothers go through the recruiting process. His oldest brother is a quarterback at Northwestern and he has another brother who just finished his freshman year at Stanford. Now it is James's turn to be the center of attention.
So far he has been getting plenty of it. A number of schools from around the nation have shown interest in the young quarterback including SMU, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Purdue, Baylor, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Vanderbilt.
The interest is understandable. Even though his passing statistics (105 for 208, 1361 yards, 11 TDs, 4 int) were not as high as other recruits, something that can be attributed to the balanced run/ pass attack, he has the prototypical form which makes offensive coordinators salivate at 6'6" and 215 pounds. James declined to designate anyone as a favorite, but did say that SMU, Texas Tech, and Notre Dame have shown the most interest. However, he did hint at what he would like to see in the program he goes to.
"I would like to be in another spread offense like we run at Bell which I am real comfortable with; something with a balanced run/pass attack."
SMU has shown a lot of interest in James. The Dallas Morning News recently rated him as the #3 quarterback in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the #26 player overall. He was even able to attend the last home game of the 2009 season.
He really liked what he saw in the SMU program and its potential for the future.
"SMU is getting better and they have some really good athletes and receivers. They run a scheme that I'm familiar with already; I could see myself coming in and making a difference."
James has been invited to visit SMU on several occasions last season to watch them play and to personally meet the coaches and will be attending SMU's Junior Day in the near future.
"I like Coach June and the coaching staff and love the wide open offense, the exciting direction that SMU football is headed and the first class academics at SMU. I think my strengths as a quarterback would be a great fit and could be very successful in the run and shoot."
Like many players, James is a little hesitant in describing himself.
"On the field I think my height is a real good advantage; it allows me to see over the line and make my pre-snap reads a lot easier. I think I have a pretty compact throwing motion, can put touch or zip on the ball depending on the throw, and I love to distribute the ball and let playmakers make plays." A good quarterback is not just in the skill set of the player, but in the intangibles too.
"Otherwise it's my poise and leadership; a good quarterback really has to have those qualities to play well."
Scouts have taken notice of the young QBs strength, size, and his ability to throw the ball. He has been judged as an intelligent quarterback that can hit the deep pass in the corner or the crossing route across the middle.
For now James is just focusing n doing what he can to improve for next season specifically his speed and strength as well as working with his receivers. He hopes to have decision made before the beginning of his senior season.
"I want to make sure I get the best all around package; staying close to home would be nice but is not necessary."