In the 2015 recruiting class, Derwin James of Haines City, Florida was the top Safety recruit in the country. He was the 4th ranked player in the state of Florida that season only behind Byron Cowart that signed with Auburn, Martez Ivey that signed with Florida and George Campbell that signed with Florida State.
James also signed with Florida State and he was listed as 6-2, 202 by ESPN and the perfect Safety prospect.
On ESPN’s Southeast Recruits ranking, James was rated the 5th best in that part of the country, with Trenton Thompson from Albany, Georgia slipping in at number 2 behind Cowart. The last time I saw Thompson play, he was sacking the TCU Quarterback 3 times in their bowl matchup. It was thought his weakness was rushing the Quarterback, but he put a stop to that in one game.
Cowart has done very little so far, but he still has time to have a good career at Auburn. Ivey started as a true freshman, mostly at Left Guard, but he also played Left Tackle. He is a present and future star. Campbell was forced to take a redshirt as a true freshman because he was injured. Then, last season, he played very little catching only 3 passes. But, the 6-4, 205 Campbell can still be a star with the time he has left and there is a chance this season for some receivers to step up at Florida State.
When the Florida State Seminoles held their Spring Game, on the very first play of the scrimmage, James intercepted a pass and returned it through half of the team for a very impressive Touchdown. A star was born and James was an immediate starter.
James may have even been the top Safety in the country as a true freshman.
James was second on the team in tackles as a freshman with 91 total. He had 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 Quarterback sacks. He was all over the field making tackles and defending the pass. He didn’t get his first real game Interception until his sophomore season. But, that was in the Seminoles first game against Ole Miss in which they came from way behind to defeat the Rebels soundly in the second half.
He played in only 2 entire games as a sophomore before being injured and lost for the season against Louisville.
Maybe the most impressive thing about Derwin James was his leadership on the sidelines after the injury.
You could see James in every game showing fire and pumping up his teammates during every other game the Seminoles played last season. He may have even helped coach a little bit. Some guys would have remained on the sidelines and pouted a little bit. They may have felt sorry for themselves, but not Derwin James. That was a very professional thing to do and he proved what kind of character he
2015 was a great season for James and demonstrated what kind of a talent he was. The 2016 season was a disaster for him, but the Seminoles did finish the season with a 10-3 record.
Now, for the 2017 season, Derwin James is back and ready to go.
He is hungry and ready to prove he really is the best player in college football.
James is a throwback. He reminds of the old Defensive Backs from the Florida State Dynasty period. He’s a hard hitting, very physical Safety with good size at about 6-3, 210. He is a sure tackler and great in pass coverage. His pass breakups were all of the spectacular variety.
I think Derwin James is the best player in the country for 2017. But, he has to return to his true freshman form of 2015 and be 100% healthy.