James ready for challenge

Published 11:59 pm Monday, March 30, 2009

For Andalusia High School senior wide receiver Leslie James, being able to use his talents as a football player at the college level is truly a gift — a gift from God.

James recently received a full scholarship to play football at Faulkner University in Montgomery.

“The Lord blessed me with something and I had to take it,” James said. “I fell in love with (Faulkner University). The coaches are nice and I really wanted to thank the Lord that I have somewhere to go and that people are appreciating me for who I am and my size. I also want to thank the people that have been around me and helping me out.”

James said the decision to play football weighed on his mind for a month.

“I got offers to play basketball at the Enterprise junior college and to play basketball at Faulkner, but I fell in love with football and that’s why I chose football today,” he said.

James said the decision was a “tough” one, due to still wanting to play basketball in college.

“Yeah it was really tough because I wanted to go to college to play basketball,” he said. “But, football got me a scholarship and a full ride.”

While with the Bulldogs football team, James has been under three different coaches —Tom Causey his sophomore year, Heath Harmon his junior year and the current football coach Brian Seymore his senior year.

He said his time at AHS has been a good learning experience, overall.

“It’s been tough learning stuff with new coaches,” James said. “I’ve had three coaches since I’ve been here and it’s been tough trying to get back under a new system and it’s been quite a good experience under coach Seymore.

“He actually gave me the ball more and helped me out trying to get prospects getting coaches to come down and watch,” he said. “It’s been a fun experience playing here.”

As a senior, James had 16 catches for 305 yards and four touchdowns.

James said he did not start playing football until he was in the seventh grade, and started in a different position.

“I started as a quarterback,” he said. “I didn’t play wide receiver until my ninth grade year. I played kicker in my freshman year and a part time wide receiver. I started to play wide receiver in my sophomore year and in my junior year was when everything started for me.”

Personally assessing his performance with the Bulldogs, James said he thinks he did “pretty good.”

James said a few lifetime goals for himself would be to become successful, get a job and come back and help people that need help the most.

James added he would not have made the decision to play football at Faulkner University if it were not for two people, in addition to his family.

“I want to especially thank Mr. (David) Darby and (AHS assistant football) coach Perry Dillard for making this happen, especially Perry, because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have had this day coming down here,” James said. “I thank all of my coaches, faculty and staff for getting me here today.”