Just when you thought Tennessee was completely done with their 2018 class and the focus had moved to on-the-field activities, the Vols added a late player to their 2018 roster on Saturday.
Reggie James, a three-star athlete from Gainesville, Georgia, announced on Twitter on Saturday afternoon that he would be joining the Vols as a late addition to their 2018 class. It was revealed shortly later in an interview with 247Sports that James is joining as a walk-on.
— Reggie James IV (@reggiej23) August 4, 2018
James said his enrollment was delayed due to an injury he sustained his senior year. And according to his interview with 247Sports, he planned to sign with a school on National Signing Day back in February, but all his scholarship offers were pulled because of his injury. He was originally supposed to have a surgery and faced a long recovery, but then something strange happened.
“Honestly I had an unexpected recovery,” James said. “I was supposed to have surgery and transfer a nerve from my tricep to my deltoid. But one day I woke up and I could feel my shoulder, and now I’m doing rehab to strengthen it.”
James originally held scholarship offers from Purdue, Colorado State, Georgia Southern, Louisiana Tech, Navy, FIU, and others. He was being looked at by both Auburn and Miami as a preferred walk-on, but he elected to come to Tennessee instead. He’s expected to join the team soon and hopes to begin practicing with the team once fall camp is over and he’s cleared for contact.
In high school, James played outside linebacker and running back for Chestatee High School. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound athlete is being looked at as a potential fullback/H-back on offense and could play linebacker for the Vols as well.
Looking at his film, I believe the Vols got an absolute steal in James as long as his recovery goes well and he can get back to full strength. He has the perfect size and toughness to play as a fullback/H-back in Tennessee’s new offense, and he’s more than capable as a linebacker too. But he’ll probably see more playing time (and more quickly) on offense. He has enough speed to work out of the backfield and has the ideal build for a bruising fullback. He has some really good hands too. James has that Jalen Hurd size, but he’s not quite as gifted of an athlete nor as quick on his feet as Hurd was. But he is built like a tank, and that’s even before he gets in a college weight room.
In 20 games on offense for Chestatee, James carried the ball 36 times for 206 yards and three touchdowns while also catching 40 passes for 480 yards and four scores according to MaxPreps. He also returned 24 kickoffs for an average of 20.8 yards per return. In his senior season, he totaled 59 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, six sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery on defense.
When I look at James’ film and his stats, I see a talented walk-on who should eventually earn a scholarship and become a contributor much like Eli Wolf, Colton Jumper, or Nick Reveiz did during their Tennessee careers. I’m not predicting a Reveiz-like career for James necessarily (Reveiz led the team with 108 tackles in 2010), but I do think the Vols picked up a very good walk-on as long as he can stay healthy and recover well from his injury.