2015 Intro: Andrew James

With the University of Wisconsin welcoming its 2015 recruiting class to campus this week, BadgerNation looks at the new Badgers joining the program, like Fort Lauderdale (FL) Cardinal Gibbons receiver Andrew James.

Commitment Date: 3/11/14

Accolades: Andrew James attended Cardinal Gibbons High School his senior year… two-time honorable mention all-state selection … played first three years at Westminster Academy … competed for Team USA in 400 meters at 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China … won gold medal in 400 meters with time of 48.25 and took bronze in 200 meters in 21.50 at U.S. Youth Olympic Trials.

Recruiting Competition: James committed to Wisconsin over offers from Appalachian State, Bowling Green, Bryant, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Fordham, Temple and Tulane. Following his commitment he received offers from USF and received interest from Boston College and Duke.

Why Wisconsin? “Through the years, I have seen Wisconsin emerge as the big school, the top school, amongst other BCS teams. It really fired me up to get this offer. I wanted to jump right on the Wisconsin train and commit right away.”

Scouting Report: Whether it’s as a returner or a receiver, James has abilities that can translate to the next level. He moves quickly with his cuts and has solid acceleration that allows him to outwit defenders, which was evident in his film. Westminster Academy utilized him a lot in wide receiver screens, getting him the ball quickly in the open field and allowing him to make plays happen with blockers leading the way. James has good body control, shows good hands in his routes and also packs a punch as a blocker.

His biggest strengths are his speed, acceleration and physicality, things that he was robbed of this past season because of injuries. When he’s healthy, James could be a big asset. With the Badgers having an opening in the return game with the graduation of Kenzel Doe, there’s a chance James could get an opportunity to contribute right away.

Down the road, James’ speed could be used on bubble screens, a play in which Alex Erickson was able to consistently get positive yards, and stretch the field with his 4.4 40-yard dash speed.

BadgerNation Prediction: Although James was the only wide receiver to sign and is Scout.com’s lowest-rated recruit in the class, he appears to be a good-looking prospect. Having the nickname “bullet,” James’ speed is a nice aspect to his game (running a 4.19 shuttle, a 10.82 in the 100-yard dash, a 21.51 in the 200 and a 48.04 in the 400), but he’ll need to show that he can consistently catch the football once he gets into camp. It is clear that Wisconsin is still looking for playmakers, so redshirting isn’t a guarantee if he has a strong summer and fall. If James does redshirt, it will allow him to develop his body and strength without sacrificing any of the speed that drew former wide receiver coach Chris Beatty to him last spring. He has opportunities to see the field early in his career.

Wisconsin sophomore receiver George Rushing gets the recruiting assist, as he told Beatty to take a closer look at his friend following his own commitment to Wisconsin last February.

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