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            ‘It didn’t feel real:’ Faith Academy 2022 athlete Shemar James wowed by Alabama offer

            Satsuma vs Faith Academy Football

            Faith Academy's Shemar James (5) runs for a first down during the Satsuma vs Faith Academy game, Friday, October 16, 2020, in Satsuma, Ala. (Scott Donaldson | preps@al.com)Scott Donaldson/al.com

            It’s been a big week for Faith Academy junior Shemar James.

            In a period of just four days, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound athlete garnered college offers from both Alabama and Georgia.

            “It’s really exciting,” James told AL.com. “I didn’t expect all this. I thank the Lord every day when I wake up and every night when I go to bed. It’s surreal. I know there are some very good players out there who aren’t blessed to have the offers I’ve received. I don’t take anything for granted.”

            James and the seventh-ranked Rams (9-1) host Sylacauga (7-2) in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs on Friday. James, a 4-star prospect, is the No. 11 junior in the state, according to the 247 composite rankings. He received offers from both Auburn and Tennessee this summer. His other offers include Georgia Tech, Indiana, LSU, Nebraska, Ole Miss and South Carolina.

            “He’s having a great year,” veteran coach Jack French said of James. “He helps us in all kinds of ways. Obviously, he helps us on the field. He helps us off the field, too. He’s a good guy. Everyone likes him and gets along with him. He’s a good guy to be around.”

            James seldom comes off the field for the Rams. He plays linebacker or defensive end on defense, wide receiver or running back on offense and is also on special teams.

            “I probably play 100 snaps a game,” he said. “I don’t really come off the field unless we are up big. If we are playing a good team and it’s tight, I’ll stay in there the whole game. Offense can get tiring, but I just suck it up and play.”

            James is such a good athlete that many colleges are not sure exactly where he will play at the next level. They just know they want him on their team.

            “A lot of schools are recruiting me at linebacker,” he said. “Tennessee and Auburn said I could come play wherever I wanted or felt the best. Linebacker is probably my best position. I like playing middle linebacker because I can see the entire field. Alabama said I might could play nickel. Georgia Tech is thinking strong safety.”

            French said James' college position ultimately will boil down to where the college he picks needs him.

            “He will do anything and be good at it,” French said. “When it all started, we were hoping we could play him a free safety. We felt like it would just about shut down a lot of passing games. But we never felt like we were in good enough shape at defensive end to do that. I have told people I thought he was a natural free safety with his range and speed. We’ve played him at linebacker, and he can do that extremely well.”

            James said his entire family is comprised of Alabama fans, though he never had a favorite team growing up.

            “I like to watch all SEC teams,” he said. “I’m a fan of a lot of different players.”

            He did admit the Crimson Tide offer earlier this week was a big one.

            “I called coach Sal (Sunseri) around 8 on Monday night,” James said. “We were talking, and he said he just wanted me to know that the staff liked my film and the way I play. When he said that …. I don’t know. It didn’t feel real. To get an offer from Alabama is something everyone doesn’t get. Wow.”

            With the lengthy COVID-19 dead period shutdown, James hasn’t had a chance to visit any campuses yet, but he looks forward to the day when he can. He said he could commit in the spring or at some point before his senior season.

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