Natives of Central Florida have been telling tales of James and his rare abilities on the football field for the past 10 years. And it didn't take long for the five-star recruit to show off his skills to a more national audience once he arrived at Florida State as one of the most hyped recruits in recent memory.
As a true freshman safety, James finished second on the team with 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and four passes defended to earn multiple Freshman All-American honors. He was on the fast track to the NFL, but then injury struck as he suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee early in 2016, missing almost all of his sophomore season.
While he returned in 2017 with obvious rust, James started to shake the hesitancy and improved throughout the course of the season, finishing with 84 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 11 passes defense and returning to the top of draft boards.
James is a freaky athlete for his size, displaying elastic joints and excellent foot speed to handle various responsibilities on the football field. For the Seminoles, he did everything, logging snaps at cornerback, linebacker and safety, showing off his range and versatility across the formation. He is also one of the best blitzers in this draft class with his initial burst and finishing acceleration.
While the athleticism is what will get him drafted high, James still has room to grow as a football player with improved discipline and mental awareness needed, especially in coverage. He is rough around the edges in areas, but the natural athleticism and "want to be great" attitude are traits that NFL coaches want to work with on a daily basis. James will be one of the first defensive players drafted in the first round.
--Field Level Media
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