They say championships are won in the offseason and if that’s true then Notre Dame Dons High School (Niles, IL) running back Chris James is ready for big things.
James was already a talented performer for the Dons as a sophomore in 2011 but was not a featured player in their offense. However, that could change. Working with rising local athletic trainer Jack Casico of Twicethespeed.com, James has packed on close to 20 lbs. of muscle and shaved more than a tenth off of his already solid 40 time. James can only be described as tightly compacted ball of explosion standing at 5’10″ 200 lbs and clocking a 4.40 in the forty. If those numbers are not impressive enough, then add to that James’ 290 lb. bench press and 505 lb. squat.
“I’ve been working twice as hard and its going to pay off come game day,” said James
That’s good news for James and his Dons teammates and bad news for opponents. Notre Dame featured a wide open passing attack in 2011 run by talented senior QB Nick Pieruccini who will be playing for Minnesota State this season. This year, they will have little choice other than to give James a ton of touches.
“The coaches have been telling me we are going to run the a lot more, so im pretty excited for the season,” James stated.
With the strong offseason work and physical maturity that James has experienced this season, the 2014 running back has evolved into a Division-I prospect. He was impressive at a number of summer college camps including Illinois and has recently received strong interest from West Virginia University. Along with that, he has heard from schools like Arkansas and several other quality D-I programs.
“I grew up a Buckeye fan but I had a unofficial visit at Arkansas last summer and loved it,” said James when asked what school stands out the most at this point.
It’s still early in the process for James who, barring injury, promises to make a huge impact on the field and garner a huge amount of college interest. James has set his sights on rushing for 1,800 yards and 25 TDs this season but that takes a back seat to some even loftier team goals he has had on his mind.
“We want to get to states this year. I think we have a good chance.”
A lot of that will ride on the health and performance of James and he has packed on the armor for this upcoming season. Casico has put a lot of sweat into James as he sees a lot of determination and potential.
James says he is partial to a pro-style offense so teams that run that style will catch his eye. With that in mind, James has listed Arkansas, Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Oklahoma as his dream schools. He will also likely take a bigger interest in West Virginia as they have taken a liking to him.