MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–With Gary Jennings and David Sills gone, it is time for a new era of wide receivers to take the reigns on the West Virginia football team, including Sam James.
Now all eyes are on the redshirt freshman. Last season James redshirted but saw action in four games.
“It’s pressure because people expect the new receiving corps to live up to what they did last year,” James said. “We have to step up and work hard to be able to do that.”
The Richmond Hill, Ga. native had a year to learn from two of the best receivers in the game in Jennings and Sills.
“That really helped, just being able to watch them practice every day and play in games,” he said. “Because I redshirted so I went to the game being able to watch them play and watch the things they did. They came back after the game and watched their film still. Just watching them, seeing how they did things and it helped me because now I’m doing those things that they did and just practicing and making it better.”
Now it is up to the 6-foot, 180-pound wide out to spend the next several months getting prepared to hit the field. While James is more knowledgeable than last season, he still has plenty of room to grow. Learning the routes is his primary focus.
“That’s really what I’m working on just running my routes better, being able to beat a DB, just learning routes,” he said. “Because I got the speed technique I just need to work on my routes.”
While James didn’t see much playing time last season, it was a learning experience for him. The speed of the game is so much faster than in high school.
However, the Richmond Hill alum also quickly had to learn that he wasn’t the instant star he was in high school.
“Just coming here, all freshmen think they should play, James said. “Just coming here, it like a brick wall that hits you and you realize you aren’t as good as you think and you have to work.”
Working hard is something that James intends to do.
“Right now, I’m just worrying about college and what I want to do in college, my dreams of playing receiver at the college level,” he said.
In four years, James hopes to have accomplished many feats and has set his standards for success high.
“I hope I’ll be the best receiver to come out of West Virginia,” he said.
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