JaWuan James’ phone has been ringing off the hook lately. But for now at least, he’s not answering.
Everybody wants to know why the 6-foot-6, 300-pound, four-star offensive lineman from Suwanee decided to reopen his recruitment after being committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide since May. And, of course, they want to know where he might be leaning now that he’s again on the free market.
“They’re probably in hunker-down mode because they’re trying to figure out what the heck they’re doing,” said North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire, who is fielding a lot of the questions for James in the meantime.
Sphire was asked if anything happened that facilitated James’ change of heart. “No. I don’t there’s anything on Alabama. It’s all on JaWuan,” he said. “It’s just him being confused as far as being sure what he really wants to do when it’s all said and done. I’m not real happy about it but I do want him to be happy about it at the end of the process.”
Sphire theorized that Alabama’s run-ins with the NCAA this summer over a textbook scandal fueled James’ doubts.
“He did feel like when this thing came up with the text books and that kind of stuff, that kind of threw him into a tailspin,” Sphire said. “I think he’s over-worried about the consequences if something else were to happen and that kind of got him thinking. But to be honest with you I’m not real sure.”
Sphire said such a change of heart is what concerns him about his players making such early commitments.
“I try to counsel them when they want to make an early commitment like that to make sure they’re 100 percent sure that’s what they want to do,” Sphire said. “This is on him and his family. Like I say, I want him to be happy in the end but it’s really the last thing we need right now. Now we have the media and everybody calling us again.”
The Bulldogs, for whom James plays left tackle, have been getting along OK. They beat South Forsyth 42-7 Friday night to improve to 3-0 and maintain their No. 2 state ranking in Class AAAAA.
James supposedly is still considering Alabama. At the time of his commitment he said Georgia, Florida and Tennessee were among the other schools he seriously considered. His recruiting profile also lists Clemson, Oklahoma and Southern Cal. He had more than 30 offers initially.
Sphire said James did not visit anywhere this past weekend.
“I was actually down at the Georgia game [Saturday] and, of course, [offensive line] Coach [Stacy] Searels was asking me about him,” Sphire said. “But I haven’t heard from anybody else.”
James told Scout.com’s Chad Simmons, the only one to get through to him these last few days, that he is starting from a blank slate. “I am wide open,” he told Simmons. “I have no leader and I am starting all the way over again.”