James Enjoyed Explosive First Week At RU

by Marc Narducci | Sep 3, 2014
James Enjoyed Explosive First Week At RU Glassboro’s Paul James Enjoyed Explosive First Week For Rutgers

There were many South Jersey standouts in the opening of the college football season, but one who truly opened his season in style was Rutgers running back Paul James.

A junior from Glassboro High, James rushed for 173 yards on 29 attempts and scored on touchdown runs of 1, 56 and 3 yards as Rutgers opened with a 41-38 victory against Washington State at Seattle. It was Rutgers first game representing the Big 10.

More importantly, it showed that James had rebounded from offseason shoulder surgery that kept him out of most of spring practice.

The fact that James had a big game should come as no surprise. Last season was his first as a starter, and he rushed for 881 yards (5.6 average and nine TDs. These are impressive enough stats, but he also missed four games with a leg injury. James told this reporter that one of his main goals coming into the season was to stay healthy. He said he was feeling good in the preseason and he sure looked like it against Washington State. His three-yard run against Washington State with 3:24 left in the fourth quarter was the game-winner for Rutgers.

James has now rushed for 1,076 career yards. He reached 1,000 career yards with his 56-yard TD run against Washington State. It took him 174 carries to reach 1,000. By comparison, current Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice needed 170 career rushes to obtain 1,000 yards at Rutgers. James currently stands second in school history with 5.7 yards per carry.

The 29 carries against Washington State was a career high. The Rutgers athletic department broke down his carries. He averaged 4.9 yards on 13 first-down carries against Washington State. James averaged 8.6 yards on 11 second-down attempts. On those second-down carries, he rushed for four first downs and two TDs.

What makes James' success so remarkable is that he originally didn’t have a scholarship when he attended Rutgers. After leading Glassboro to three South Jersey Group 1 titles, James entered Rutgers as a walk-on. He has since earned a scholarship.

Now the sky appears to be the limit for the 6-foot, 205-pound junior.

James was far from an overnight sensation and, like most walk-ons, had to patiently wait his turn. During his first season of action in 2012, James appeared in just two games and carried the ball just five times.

He got his chance last season and proved himself, and now he’s intent to show that he is among the top running backs in the Big 10.

And from Rutgers standpoint, the contribution from the James family will continue. Ronnie James, Paul’s brother and a senior at Glassboro, has made a verbal commitment to attend Rutgers. Ronnie is a running back and defensive back and is good enough to excel at either position.

Then again, Paul was also an outstanding linebacker at Glassboro and there is no doubt if he played defense, he would have success on that side of the ball.

James is simply a football player. He has said in the past that not being offered a scholarship out of high school has made him play with a chip on his shoulder.

He is certainly doing that and couldn’t have made a better first impression in his first game representing Rutgers as a Big 10 school.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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