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Sam James working to improve consistency as a receiver

Just a year ago, former WVU wide receivers coach Tyron Carrier said that he believed true freshman Sam James had the potential to develop himself into a first-round NFL draft pick.

A year later at the halfway point of his first season, the now redshirt freshman James’ 6.2 receptions per game ranks in the top 25 in the country, being the only freshman in the top 40. 

James has 359 yards and two touchdowns to go along with his 6.2 receptions per game and believes the next step in his development is consistency.

“I’m trying to work on being more consistent,” said James. “I’ve had big games, and I’ve had not so big games, so me being more consistent is what I’m going to work on for next season.”

James has emerged this season as the Mountaineers most dangerous deep threat, and the top target for first-year starter Austin Kendall in a receiving unit consisting of mostly young receivers. Despite being the leading receiver for the Mountaineers, James’ output for the first six games has varied from 30 yards against Iowa St., to 155 yards against N.C State.

Despite the variation, his receptions have stayed consistent with at least five receptions in every game this season, a number he will look to have increase with his development.

Sam James battles for extra yardage after a reception against the Texas Longhorns on October 1st

While battling a few minor injuries in his first full season, head coach Neal Brown has recognized the work James has been putting in and believes in his future and development as a receiver. 

“I’m excited for James for the next few years. I see him maturing before our eyes a football player and a person,” said Brown on the Neal Brown show prior to Iowa St. “I think he’s going to be a big-time player.”

Being a freshman, the experience he’s getting early on in his career seems invaluable and should pay dividends as the group of young Mountaineer receivers get older.

One of James’ biggest performances this season came during the primetime matchup against the Longhorns, where he had 66 yards and a touchdown. He’ll have another opportunity to burst onto the national scene this weekend when the Mountaineers fly to Norman to take on the Sooners as massive underdogs.

Kickoff is at 12:00 and will be televised on Fox with Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt on the call.

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