Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Ja’Wuan James remained silent after NCAA investigators came to his school to interview him about Tennessee’s recruiting practices and he stayed quiet as rumors swirled that he was thinking about backing out of his commitment to the Vols. But James made it clear Wednesday after completing the first day of practices for the Under Armour All-America game that he never wavered on Tennessee.
“Oh, yeah, I’m still solid with Tennessee,” said North Gwinnett’s 6-foot-6, 305-pound tackle. “I’m going to enroll there and move in on the weekend of the eighth (Jan. 8). I’m all set.”
A month ago, the NCAA began looking into Tennessee’s recruiting practices under coach Lane Kiffin, including the use of recruiting hostesses and the use of social media to make contact with prospects. Investigators came to North Gwinnett High on Dec. 10 specifically to talk him about some of those allegations. James said the inquiry didn’t really faze him.
“No, not really,” he said Wednesday. “I just answered their questions and then it ended and that was all.”
The NCAA asked that details of that discussion remain private.
James said he was escorted by UT’s controversial hostess Lacey Earps during his official visit to Knoxville on Oct. 12. Earps was one of the hostesses that traveled the Duncan, S.C., to attend the game of Tennessee commitments Corey Miller and Brandon Willis.
“She’s a nice girl,” he said. “She was just like any hostess I had at any other school.”
James is looking forward to enrolling in college and getting recruiting behind him. He was committed to Alabama last spring before reopening his recruitment early this fall. That touched off a battle between Tennessee, Georgia and UCLA to land the four-star tackle.
James was cited by several recruiting analysts as one of the players that stood out on the first day of workouts for the Under Armour Game, which will be played Saturday at 11 a.m. (ESPN). The players are going through practices and skills challenges all week at the Disney/ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. The game will be played in St. Petersburg.
“It was pretty good,” said James, who is playing offensive tackle with Team Blur. “I got to compete with a lot of the best [players] in the country. It’s different but it’s fun playing against good people. Just competing with these guys is hard.”
James is playing alongside Buford’s Kolton Houston, who is working at guard this week. Houston is committed to Georgia.
“It’s hard when you don’t have the playing experience with the guy next to you,” James said. “But I think we’ll have it down by the time the game comes around.”