Written By T.J. Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
We at Hoosier Huddle thought it would be beneficial to take a look at each of the redshirt freshmen that didn’t see any game action during the 2015 season. Next on our list: an exciting athlete from the Hoosier state, Isaac James.
5’11”/188 lbs./ATH from Carmel, IN.
Isaac James is an athlete from athletics powerhouse Carmel High School. He chose to play for the home-state Hoosiers over offers from Missouri, Northwestern, Wisconsin and several others after an incredibly successful high school athletic career. He starred on the gridiron in one of the Midwest’s toughest conferences while playing wide receiver, quarterback, running back and defensive back. He finished his career with more than 2,000 rushing yards, 800 passing yards, 200 receiving yards and 40 touchdowns. James helped the Greyhounds reach three state title games and led the squad during an unbeaten 2014 regular season. He was rated as the 5th best in-state prospect in the class of 2015. In addition, he earned letters in basketball and track and field and won a sectional championship with a school record long-jump of more than 23 feet. Needless to say, Isaac James has tremendous athletic gifts.
Why Did He Redshirt?
The main reason that James redshirted was a shoulder injury that lingered throughout preseason practices and prevented him from going full-contact with the team. It’s unclear how serious the injury ended up being and how many games he could have appeared him if IU opted to use him but the injury, combined with IU’s depth on offense, made Kevin Wilson’s decision to redshirt him a logical one. We don’t know much about his performance on the scout team during his redshirt season but we do know he finished strong as he earned scout team player of the week for the Purdue game.
What Can We Expect in 2016 and Beyond?
This is an incredibly difficult question to answer because we still don’t know where James is going to line up. I saw him play in high school on multiple occasions and he was a real thrill to watch every time he got the ball in his hands. I truly believe he could have an impact at either wide receiver or running back if given the chance. However, the Hoosiers are deep at both of those positions (he’d likely be behind Harris and Paige in the slot and potentially behind as many as five players at running back). The Hoosiers have been looking for a spark from their kick return unit and James could be one of a handful of guys that will battle for a shot at making a difference as a kick returner. As I said, I think James would be a dynamic offensive player but I believe his first opportunity for playing time may come on the other side of the ball. As you, loyal reader, no doubt are aware, the Hoosiers are switching to a defense that will require a lot of bodies in the secondary. Isaac James is a tremendous athlete and he has the physical build that might allow him to be successful at defensive back in the new 4-2-5 defense.
My guess is that 2016 will be a year in which we see flashes of quality from Isaac James. He’ll likely earn some playing time on special teams and, if he plays well during spring practice, he could end up in the rotation on either side of the ball. I believe that he’ll be a difference maker by the time his career at IU comes to an end but for now, his exact fit on this team is a bit of a mystery.
Check Hoosier Huddle often as we continue to preview Spring football and take a look at each member of the 2015 class that will be seeing his first action in 2016. Thus far, we’ve previewed Austin Dorris, Austin King and Raekwon Jones and the rest of the redshirt class will be coming soon!