Darius James is a monster-sized interior lineman with uncommon agility and athleticism. He actually showed that off more defensively Thursday than he did on offense, though he didn't play at all in the second half because of a foot injury. Someone stepped on his foot — not the one he broke previously — and he was held out in the second half as a precaution.
But when James was in, he was a serious impact player on both sides. Stony Point employed the same strategy that Killeen did when I covered Harker Heights-Killeen a year ago by leaving James uncovered and playing without a true nose tackle on most downs. It was a good strategy, as whenever James locked onto a defender, that defender wound up driven 5-to-10 yards downfield. As a team, Harker Heights struggled to move the line, and that problem magnified significantly when James went out. Because of the positioning of the Stony Point defense, James seldom had to fire off the ball and hit somebody in front of him, though I've seen that ability in the past, so I know it's there.
Defensively, James had a huge first half. Playing a defensive end in a three-man front, he was active in chasing the ball. Within the first few minutes, he chased down a Stony Point running back near the sideline and made a co-tackle for loss. Later in the half, he shed a blocker and showed his tremendous short-area acceleration in snuffing out a quarterback on a scramble play for a sack. He did the same to down mobile quarterback Damian Lindley in the last play before halftime.
With such a small sample size, it wasn't a great chance to scout James, but at the same time, he certainly showed the skill set that makes him a special player in the Class of 2013.