Derwin James, a star defensive back for Florida State, is the headline for Week 1’s spotlight athlete. During his freshman year, James exceeded the hype, becoming a starter in the midst of the season and totaling 91 tackles, 4.5 sacks, along with two forced fumbles in 12 games.
Unfortunately, James’ sophomore campaign took a turn for the worst, as he got injured in the second game of the season, and on September 13, was ruled out for the remainder of the year. He had to have surgery for a meniscus tear, and his second year was over just as quickly as it started. James had 11 tackles and one interception.
Now, beginning his junior season, James is going up against his toughest competition yet: the Alabama Crimson Tide. After a couple of seasons in which he impressed many, James has to bring it this year. He has an immense amount of pressure to lead the ‘Noles to the College Football Playoff, and that all begins in Week 1 against Nick Saban’s crew.
James will go up against the likes of Calvin Ridley, Robert Foster, and Cam Sims, one of the top wide receiving corps in the nation, and must prove that he is the real deal, given his place amongst the top of most mock drafts.
However, it’s a familiar place for James to be in. He’s had to come back from injury before, as he was hit by a car as a kid on three separate occasions, and still turned out to be a five-star recruit out of high school, and is now, expected to be a top-5 pick in next April’s 2018 NFL Draft.
James’ season, which I expect to be an incredible one, will officially begin on September 2, against No. 1 Alabama in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC. Even though the Tide are -7 point favorites, watch for James to have a big game, kickstarting a huge season.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated.