Sam James Does it All
By Barry Every
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As a junior James snagged 42 passes for 917 yards and eight scores. He also left his mark on the defensive side of the ball recording 49 tackles and five PBU’s.
Richmond Hill (Ga.) decided to make a coaching change three years ago hiring former James Madison quarterback Matt LeZotte as its new head man. With the change came a new philosophy and commitment to teamwork. Some of those results came to fruition this past season as the Wildcats finished (6-4) after a dismal (2-8) in 2014.
One of the athletes that bought into Coach LeZotte’s teachings was three-sport star Sam James. As a junior James snagged 42 passes for 917 yards and eight scores. He also left his mark on the defensive side of the ball recording 49 tackles and five PBU’s.
“My freshman year the seniors weren’t pushing the younger players, but Coach LeZotte has come in and changed all that,” James Said. “He taught us the importance of dedicating ourselves in the weight room, and that execution in practice translates to victories. He gave us the formula to be successful; the program has done a complete 360 thanks to Coach LeZotte.”
James currently boasts 14 FBS offers which include Power Five schools Georgia Tech, Kansas, South Carolina, Wake Forest and West Virginia. He is also receiving serious interest from Minnesota and North Carolina State.
“Minnesota Coach PJ Fleck is doing the most aggressive job recruiting me, it’s hard to believe the head man is showing me that much attention,” James Said. “Coach Fleck text’s me almost every day. Colorado State is really going hard for my services also. “I’m excited about all the schools recruiting me, but I’d sure like to hear more from Florida, Louisville and Maryland. I love the way those three schools use their receivers allowing them to make plays.”
To date James has only made three unofficial visits this spring. Being a key member of the Wildcat track squad and a starter on the basketball team has limited his ability to make more trips. The 6-foot-2, 160-pound athlete averaged 8.5 points while chipping in 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Right now James is one of the top-seeded 400 meter guys in GHSA-AAAAAA, with a best time of 48.8-seconds this year.
“He is definitely an upper level FBS player that could play either side of the ball,” LeZotte said. “I’m not so sure he’ll be a receiver because there is a premium on tall corners at the next level. He is a special player that competes in three sports, and once he can concentrate on just one sport his development will skyrocket. He is one of the few players I have coached that has both the work ethic and the ability to be great.”
Last month James attended the Nike Opening in Orlando with his sights set on earning the Golden Ticket to the finals in Oregon. Next on his dance card is the Rivals.com Three Stripe camp in Atlanta on April, 23.
“He is the perfect recruit, several college coaches have already told me that,” LeZotte said. He is not a social media pariah and he definitely doesn’t run his mouth just to be heard. When James goes on these unofficial visits he asks excellent questions of the college coaches recruiting him. Coaches find him refreshing and a joy to recruit.”
Social media faux pas on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook have curtailed the recruiting on many prospects. Somehow James has been able to stay humble while focusing on being the best player and teammate possible at Richmond Hill. He is on track to qualify carrying a 2.5 core GPA with an 18 on the first take of the ACT. He has set a personal goal of scoring a 23 or higher on the ACT and has already scheduled to take the test again.
Don’t be surprised when his offer list doubles in size over the next month. College coaches will do thorough investigation during the spring evaluation period and they may just find their next Renaissance Man in Richmond Hill, Georgia.