With the departure of both Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale, the running back position for the 2017 season appears to be a bit of a question mark. The integral word is ‘bit’ of a question mark because we know a ‘bit’ about two of the contenders to replace the now departed senior backs.
But before this spring, the year he sat out in Madison and the two he played sparingly at Pitt, James was 4-star recruit out of Notre Dame Prep in Chicago.
James rushed for over 1,700 yards and amassed 20 touchdowns as a senior in 2013. The two-time Chicago Tribune All-State team member had offers from many schools including Arizona State, Tennessee, Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin before committing to Joe Rudolph and Paul Chryst at Pitt.
In his first year at Pitt, under Chryst and Co., he played a decent role for a true freshman collecting around 100 carries a little under 500 yards and four touchdowns.
James’ second year at Pitt, under new head coach Pat Narduzzi, saw his reps cut by 35 percent and his yardage go down by close to 200 yards. And with that dip in production, James departed the Panther program.
In May of 2016, James signed with the Badgers and was forced to sit out the 2016 season due to the NCAA transfer rules. During his red-shirt season, as a member of the scout team, James received praise from coaches and fellow players alike.
So, in looping this in a full-circle motion, James had tremendous potential coming out of high school, played well when given the chance at Pitt, impressed peers and superiors alike in his year on the scout team and has excited local writers in spring practice to date…I can’t wait to see what he’s got.
Fans will get their first chance to see James live and in person at the 2017 spring game coming up on Friday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Camp Randall.
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