Even though Anthony James didn’t expect to be put in this position, it hasn’t stopped him from standing out.
The Wylie East football star didn’t realize his future in college football until he started getting recruited after his freshman season. In fact, he didn’t even like playing the game that much until he saw that opportunity.
“Everything was unexpected,” James said. “I didn’t expect to be in this position, and I didn’t even like sports honestly. I wasn’t planning on being here but the opportunity for free education and playing at a high level, I couldn’t pass up. When I started playing, I didn’t think I was that good, but I worked hard and started getting noticed in high school.”
Now, with a love for football and plenty of accolades going his way, James has become one of the top prospects in the nation. The 6-foot-4 rising senior stands out among the pack with his size and athleticism and is listed as a four-star prospect by 247sports.
For now, though, James is just focused on getting better and helping his team succeed.
“I feel good about myself and the team,” James said. “We’re a whole different team and we’ve all really bought in on being bigger and stronger this offseason. We feel like we’ll compete.”
James and the Raiders got off to a hot start last season before running into a tough district that included powerhouse programs like Longview and Highland Park. Now, the team has moved up to the 6A division, but he feels like Wylie East can make even more of an impact.
“Our only goal is to win,” James said. “We were in one of the most difficult districts in Texas 5A last season and won some games, but I expect us to win even more this year.”
Behind second-year head coach Marcus Gold, James said he believes the team is starting to buy in more and more this offseason.
“We had some setbacks, but we’re more bought in,” James said. “It’s been a good year and we’re continuing to get better every day.”
With people taking notice of his success, James’ recruiting battle has begun to heat up. Originally committed to Texas A&M his sophomore year, he decommited to continue to explore his options for the next level.
With visits to Utah and Texas in the books and a trip to the University of Washington around the corner, James wants to take his time to make a big life decision.
Ultimately, James said the recruiting journey has given him plenty of life skills to take away.
“It’s hard to tell who is real and who is not,” James said. “Plenty of people try and come into your life and tell you what you want to hear. You have to separate the noise and find out for yourself.”
With his final recruiting visit scheduled for June 24, James said it will likely be his last one of the summer before making a decision. After that visit, he said his goal is to completely devote himself to the game and help Wylie East compete.
“My first goal is to just do my job,” James said. “It’s my senior year so I want to play for myself and do whatever I can to help the team win games.”
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By Kyle Grondin • email@example.com