Whatever it is Lane Kiffin is selling, JaWuan James is buying it.
James, a senior tackle at North Gwinnett and the top uncommitted offensive lineman in the state, committed to Tennessee Tuesday night. A one-time Alabama commitment, he chose the Vols over Georgia and UCLA.
“It’s a blessing to be recruited like I was,” James said Tuesday night. “I really appreciated everything everybody did and I have a lot of respect for Georgia and all the other teams that recruited me. They did a good job. But I just felt like I fit better at Tennessee. The coaches, the players, I like that new environment. I think Coach Kiffin is going to do big things and I want to be a big part of it.”
James, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound left tackle, took an official visit to Tennessee the weekend of Oct. 12 when the Vols dismantled the Bulldogs 45-19 and Kiffin gave his infamous “We’ll never lose to Georgia as long as I’m the coach” speech. James took two unofficial visits to Georgia before that and an official to UCLA.
James said he called Tennessee assistant head coach Ed Orgeron with the news Tuesday around 9 p.m. and that Orgeron passed the phone around to the entire coaching staff, including Kiffin. “They were all real excited about it,” he said.
James has had a standout year despite a late-season ankle sprain for the 8-AAAAA champion North Gwinnett Bulldogs. The school is located less than 50 miles from the UGA campus.
“I don’t think there will be any hard feelings,” said James, who said he left the news on a voicemail for Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels. “I have a lot of respect for Georgia and a lot of friends that go there. But I had to make the decision that was best for me.”
James said his recruitment is officially closed. He graduate from high school at the end of this semester and will enroll at Tennessee in January.