With each passing month, Long Beach (Miss.) defensive tackle Nick James continues to collect SEC offers. And the 6-foot-4 and 330-pound junior said the early offers only motivate him to do more in 2011.
"I thought Alabama had offered me but they haven't although they said they are planning to offer," said James. "But I do have offers from Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State, LSU and Ole Miss. "I just feel fortunate to have these opportunities. It makes me want to become the best player in the state and show people I have earned these offers.
Two of James' latest offers came from the pair of in-state SEC schools - Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
"I was real thankful to get those offers," said James. "I will soon have family at Mississippi State with Dee Arrington. And with Ole Miss, my cousin that coaches at Perk (Gulf Coast Community College), he went to Ole Miss and that is a good thing, too."
And James added he's talked to several of his teammates and friends about the Bulldogs and Rebels of late.
"I liked getting those offers and people I've talked to said they had good experiences at Mississippi State and Ole Miss," noted James. "I haven't gotten a chance to check out their campuses but I want to soon. Both schools are good academic-wise and me and my father have to plan out some visits to those schools. "I talked to (teammate) Richie (Brown) the other day about his visit to Mississippi State. He said he liked it and that the coaches are pretty cool. So I want to check it out for myself."
But for the most part this spring, James is more focused on improving his play on the defensive line. He managed 33 tackles and three sacks last year and did a solid job plugging up the middle and allowing freedom for the likes of Brown and other Long Beach linebackers.
"I am just trying to stay lower more and that will make it easier to change directions," said James. "I want to get better at my foot planting and explosiveness and I've been working a lot in those areas. I just want to get a whole lot better and see if my work pays off when we put on the pads in a week and start spring ball."