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James Ready for the Next Step

Photo: @ColinAthletics

Photo: @ColinAthletics

“He’s gotten better every scrimmage. He’s fun to coach. He has got a skill set that will make him really good.”

That is the line that Auburn defensive coordinator, Kevin Steele, dropped when asked about Tiger defensive end, Paul James III on Tuesday night.

James, a transfer from Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Mississippi, has caught the attention of teammates and coaches alike since stepping on campus back in January. Despite being sidelined with an injury during spring practice, but was able to bounce back rather quickly thanks to the help of his fellow teammates.

“I give it to the group of guys that are in my d-line group.” James said when asked about how comfortable he is with his role, following an abbreviated spring practice. “They worked with me a lot after practice, and made sure that I studied my playbook. So I give it all to them.”

Even though James feels like he recuperated well, it was not an easy process.

“Coming off of injury, I was out of shape. I was thrown in a fire at the time. So missing three weeks of practice, it hurt me, but it will also give me an edge to go back and go harder.”

Prior to transferring to Copiah-Lincoln, James played defensive end at the University of Illinois, which is the same university that recent graduate transfer T.J. Neal originated. While there, James saw action in four games as a Freshman. His sophomore season at Copiah-Lincoln, he recorded 47 tackles. 14 of those were sacks. According to 247sports, Paul James III was rated as the fifth-best defensive end in JUCO.

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