Springfield High School senior linebacker Davonte James has a choice to make soon. Will he follow former Wildcat Trey DePriest to Alabama, or will he choose a different college path?
James has seven Division I football offers, but he is planning a trip to Alabama in mid-July.
“I’m going down there because they want to see me, and they’re supposed to offer me,” James said.
Springfield coach Eric Gillespie said he was told that Alabama head coach Nick Saban brought up James in a recruiting meeting and said he wanted James to come for a visit. James is listed on the ESPN 300 list as a four-star player on a five-star scale and is ranked as the No. 17 player in the nation at his position.
James said he often talks to DePriest, who started 12 games as a sophomore last season and was national champion Alabama’s No. 2 tackler.
James’ first offer came from Purdue as a sophomore. Since then he has received offers from West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Marshall, Toledo, Indiana and Illinois. He would like to announce his decision by Aug. 1.
“I’m enjoying it, but it’s stressful,” James said. “Just trying to figure out what school you want to go to and what would be the best choice for you for four years.”
James, who wants to study engineering, has been to Georgia Tech and West Virginia. He said he also wants to take a visit to Purdue. He lists those three schools as his finalists, pending the trip to Alabama.
James has started at linebacker for the Wildcats the past two years.
“They like how I’m aggressive and patient, and they like how I can make tackles and run downhill and fight through blocks,” James said of the college recruiters.
James is 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, but Gillespie said he expects James to fill out his big frame in college and play at a higher weight.
“He’s a good kid and a good student, and when you see him on film he makes plays,” Gillespie said. “He’s got some outstanding linebacker instincts.
“One thing we tell our players and our parents is that colleges recruit extraordinary athletes in Division I and extraordinary physical specimens. He’s a great physical specimen.”
James might also be the Wildcats starting quarterback this season as they try to bounce back from a 1-9 season. He played quarterback from seventh through 10th grade and saw some varsity action at the position as a sophomore.