Player Spotlight: Nick James

Nick James, from coastal Mississippi city of Long Beach, continues as a highly coveted prospect by schools from the SEC. The first team to extend an offer to the 6-6, 335 defensive tackle, who attends Long Beach Senior High School, were the Tennessee Volunteers. James talked in-depth of recruitment and more..

"When I received their offer I felt very alert," Nick James said of Tennessee. "It's hard to describe exactly, but it made me feel very comfortable knowing I had an offer from such a good team."

James reports scholarship offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Tennessee, and recently LSU. Alabama is a school looking at James closely as well and invited him to attend their Junior Day. He was unable to visit the Tide or Knoxville.

"Right now transportation is an issue for me," James said. "I wasn't able to go to Alabama. I'd like to try to make a visit later on."

James is working out in the off-season with a personal trainer trying to shed some of his 335 bulk and increase his speed.

"My guy is Lewis Callahan (the trainer)," said James. "He's real important to me. We're working on my flexibility. They were chop blocking me all year. If I slim down, get my feet quicker, and stay low, they won't be able to cut block me next year. I'll get in there and corrupt the backfield."

James had 33 tackles last year, three sacks, two pass breakups, and two forced fumbles for Long Beach. The Bearcats went 10-1 in the regular season and were ranked No. 1 going into the 5A state playoffs, but were knocked off in the first round by Brookhaven.

"It was a pretty good season," said James, "but it could have been better. Richie Brown, the middle linebacker, and myself make a good 1-2 punch. I get them inside, and he's gets them outside.

"My goal next year to is dominate. Once I get that tackle to turn his hips, Bam! I'm in the backfield. That's why I made working on my mobility the focus of my off-season. I want to be the best run stopper and the best pass rusher out there next year."

His teammate, Richie Brown, is also a senior in the class of 2012 and has an offer from Mississippi State. The recruiting season is still getting underway for James as he waits to see what other offers will come his way and wants to check out more in person.

"All of the schools in the SEC have either offered me or are showing interest," said James. "I'd like to go somewhere that's going to have a real aggressive defense. It doesn't have to be a school in this area. I just want to be somewhere with good coaches and good students who'll help me as a student and as a football player. I'd like to study law enforcement and someday be a U.S. Marshall."

At Long Beach, James also participates in track & field, throwing discus and shot put. He wears No. 71 for the Maroon and White Bearcats where he has started since his sophomore year.

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