Paul James knew three weeks ago he was going to commit to Auburn. But instead of making the news public then, he opted to reveal his decision on his official visit this weekend.
“I decided to wait until I took my official visit so I could tell the team face-to-face,” said James, a 4-star defensive end from Copiah-Lincoln junior college (Wesson, Miss.).
The JUCO defensive end spurned Mississippi State in the process. He garnered interest from several other schools, including Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas, among others. But he admitted the decision was never close — it was Auburn from the start.
“I love the atmosphere,” James said. “Them being a family and welcoming me with open arms and showing me I can be a successful person.”
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound prospect said he spoke with Auburn freshman defensive back Carlton Davis (Miami, Fla.) at length prior to making his decision. The two played together at Norland High School (Miami, Fla.) and have stayed in close contact since.
“We both played at the same school, and us coming from the same place I knew I’d get the same love they gave him,” James said.
According to James, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp envisions using him at the Buck position, a hybrid role. It’s the same position former Gators defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr. flashed at under Muschamp’s direction.
“I’ll rush the quarterback standing up and work in coverage,” James said. “Mainly being versatile. That’s the plan Muschamp has for me.”
James is rated as the No. 1 weakside defensive end in the country among all JUCO players.