Senior Season has been Tops for James
Brandon James
Brandon James
FightinGators.com staff
Posted Nov 23, 2009


The Florida Gators wide receiver Brandon James’s senior season has not been filled with the individual success he has had in his first three years, but with three more wins, his recruiting class will go down as one of the most successful in UF history. As for James’s individual legacy, he has already established himself as of the all-time greats for the Gators even with his down year.

Despite his personal struggles and the drama surrounding the team, Brandon James has enjoyed his senior year more than any other season.

“It’s hard because we have been through so much and so much winning,” James said. “I kinda would say this whole year, just everything we’ve been through this year with my fellow seniors and just get through and still be undefeated.”

Although the Gators did see the same type of success in 2005 as the following years, their 34-7 win over FSU in Gainesville might have laid the ground work for the future success.

James remembers being there and it having a major impact on his decision.

“There were a lot of big recruits at that game, and I think that game probably got a lot of our guys here,” James said.

Four years later, that group has already become the winningest class in UF’s history and has won two national titles with a chance to win a third this season.

James has appreciated seeing all of the unit’s hard work paying off on the field.

“All the work we’ve put in and everything we’ve been through to come out and see it all put together like that in the wins, in all the accolades and all the championships is real big,” James said.

In James’s first three years at Florida, he made a name for himself by terrorizing opponents with his punt and kick returns, especially punt.

He returned at least one touchdown on a punt return his first three years and added his first touchdown on a kickoff return this year.

In 2007, he was second in the nation in punt return average.

James is the Gators’ all-time leader in punt and kickoff return yards, and his four punt return touchdowns ties him with Jacquez Green for the most in UF history.

After last season, he was named Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Year and recognized by several All-American teams.

This year teams have been making sure not to give him much room to return and have often kicked it out-of-bounds or did rugby style kicks to limit his returns.

James knew coming into the season there would be a lot of pressure on him to continue his success.

“It definitely is, and I think that’s just something that comes with the territory. My freshman year, coming on campus and stepping in early and making some plays, people got accustomed to it and they want you to keep doing it,” James said. “The team and the coaches put a lot of pressure on me, and you just have to live up to them.”

James does not believe his increased role in the offense this season has been what’s hurt his return game. In fact, it has helped him keep his spirits up, knowing he can still help the team even if he isn’t breaking off big returns.

“I think it actually helped,” James said. “Me not making plays on special teams, being involved in the offense kind of helped a little bit with my whole morale.”

James only has one game left in front of the home crowd, and it will be against his favorite childhood team, making it even more special with the chance to go undefeated against the Seminoles in his college career.

“Coach Meyer is real big on beating rivals, and for us to be undefeated against them would be real big. It’s real big for me actually because growing up I love Florida State, they were my team, but I didn’t really get recruited by them. To come to college and be undefeated against them would be real big.”

Not being recruiting by FSU has provided James with extra motivation when he faces the Seminoles.

“There’s definitely extra motivation especially when you know you’re good enough to play somewhere,” James said. “When you play them, you try to do your best.”



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