Jalon Walker knows that feeling. Malaki Starks can say the same.
When do prospects feel like they are Bulldogs? For those three, it is now no longer when they step on campus. Or sign their names on a scholarship. Or enroll.
It is the moment they choose to commit to the University of Georgia. That comes even before the Kirby Smart “Go Dawgs” tweet.
James told DawgNation on Monday afternoon that he has a specific message for all the social media follows he has been picking up of late.
“My message to the fans is that DawgNation is getting that’s going to work day in and day out for the program,” he said. “Not only in me but also those guys that are committed. Go Dawgs!”
He shared this edit on his Instagram.
That decision was as more of an affirmation than a spontaneous decision.
James told DawgNation back in mid-March that his decision could come at any day. Georgia had always been the clear leader for the 4-star RB.
“It feels great,” he said. “I’m glad to be a part of the family. I knew I was ready about a month or two ago.”
RELATED: Check out the backstory on Jordan James
He can enroll early but is not sure yet if he will. He said that Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee was excited when he made the move.
“When I told coach McGee he was with it,” James said. “It is an honor to be able to have this opportunity to play for a great university.”
It wasn’t really a planned handoff.
“It was only a matter of time before I committed,” James said on Monday. “I felt today was the right day and this is where home is.”
This decision has often seemed like a 1st-and-goal at the half-yard line with the ultimate “EndZone Stalker” in the backfield in Hershel Walker dotting the “I” in the backfield. That’s with maybe David Andrews, George Foster, Matt Stinchcomb, Andrew Thomas, and Isaiah Wynn up front leading the way.
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound James said he will take no other visits. He will not visit Oklahoma or the in-state Tennessee Volunteers once the NCAA is expected to restore a quiet period in June.
“I’m done,” James said. “I’m 100 percent locked in.”
Check out the junior highlight reel for James below. His best asset might be his vision and then to be able to stick his foot in the ground and cut against the gain.
Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 interviews with Jake Fromm, Gunner Stockton and Brock Vandagriff. You will only be able to find it on the DawgNation YouTube channel.
Oakland HS coach Kevin Creasy breaks down Jordan James
The Oakland High (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) star put up some gaudy stats as a junior. James had 182 carries for 1,752 yards and took those plays to the house for 26 TDs.
“Momo” had a robust 9.6 yards per attempt with a long gain of 80 yards. He never leaves the field for Oakland and will even return punts and kickoffs.
“He shows up and shows out in a big game when the bullets start flying when he gets the ball in his hands,” Oakland High head coach Kevin Creasy said.
That included 10 times in which he cracked the 100-yard mark in his 13 games. James also excelled when given the chance to catch the football. He had a 90-yard reception which boosted his totals to eight catches for 180 yards.
That’s a gaudy 22.5 yards per catch average. It seems fitting to mention that James can house the football as a receiver, too. That’s part of the new Georgia model at the position.
Creasy dropped some pretty stout player parallels.
“He reminds me of a couple of pretty successful guys that went on and played on Saturdays,” Creasy said. “He’s one of those thick and low to the ground guys who have really good vision.”
NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith was a big name he used in his scouting evaluation.
“He’s just one of those guys that are not scared to run outside and definitely got the speed to run outside,” Creasy said. “Just an overall complete back. He reminds me a lot of like Emmitt Smith.”
That 90-yard catch and run on his junior tape was made possible by a nifty spin move.
“That guy has got some moves about him,” Creasy said. “He was 1-on-1 with an inside linebacker and that wa a mismatch. That guy, that linebacker, was pretty good. But with him doing a little double move I thought he did a heck of a job. He does a heck of a job for us not only running the ball but he is a really good blocker as well as catching the ball out of the backfield. He’ll probably be asked to do a whole lot more of that for us this year.”
That 9.6 yard average over a 15-game schedule is pretty impressive. Especially for a marked 4-star prospect like James. The Oakland staff is surprised by those rare instances when any defender has the chance to put a real good hit on him.
“There’s a lot of times where you made the first guy miss and then break a tackle,” Creasy said. “That’s how you get to 9.5 yards per carry in arguably the toughest classification in our state. He did a really good job of always making that first guy miss and he’s got a nice spin move and a lot of good quickness with his vision that all ties together well. He’s a really special back.”
He also shines off the field.
“Just an awesome kid,” Creasy said. “Really good teammate. The best thing I can say for him is he’s always one of those guys who doesn’t care who gets the credit. He celebrates his teammates scoring and making big plays just as much as he does anyone. He could care less about his personal accolades.”
“His big thing to him is he is a real quiet kid who doesn’t say a lot. But then we got in a tight ballgame one time and the next thing I know he’s over there chewing up and spitting out one of our guys who had just fumbled the ball. It was awesome. Because everything he said was just everything the coaches have always said. He pretty much took our words and put it in his own language which surprised all of us because he has always been a quiet guy.”
James was the 11th commitment for the Bulldogs as they open up the distance from LSU in having the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class for the 2022 cycle. He was just the second offensive commitment on the board for 2022.
He joined 5-star QB Gunner Stockton in the class on that side of the ball so far.
Jordan James shared this commitment edit on his Instagram page after his decision on Monday. (Jordan James/Instagram)
(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)