Sampson James burst onto the national recruiting scene in the last year and became a top priority for Ohio State following a dynamic junior season that saw him rush for almost 1800 yards after being primarily utilized as a receiver during his sophomore campaign.
The nation’s No. 7-ranked tailback prospect, James chose the Buckeyes over Michigan, Penn State, Florida State, Georgia and others.
James is a big-bodied, one-cut running back in the mold of Ezekiel Elliott, Beanie Wells and others that have left their marks on the Ohio State record books.
Like Elliott, James is an active pass-blocker in the backfield and a capable pass-catcher. He’s an all-around back and a big-time talent from Indianapolis’ outskirts.
Mike Weber is likely to depart from Ohio State following the 2018 season and there’s little reason to think J.K. Dobbins would be in town longer than 2019, so there’s a real opportunity for James to become a key part of the Buckeyes offense early in his career.
If he’s willing to go out and compete on special teams and get himself in the mix as a pass blocker, you should expect to see him competing with Brian Snead and Master Teague III for backup snaps in 2019.
Though the Buckeyes have been closely linked with a number of 2019 running backs throughout the last year, there may not have been – or be – a higher priority for Tony Alford than Sampson James.
You don’t want to gush too much because the jump from high school to college is so steep, but James’ approach is so similar to that of many successful former Buckeyes that you can’t help but see big things in his future.
He can run, he can catch, he can block and he plays the game with a straight-ahead approach that will do big things in Urban Meyer’s offense. At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds already, James will keep developing himself physically and needs to get stronger, especially his lower half, if he wants to take a pounding in the physical Big Ten.
Sampson James is a prototypical Ohio State feature back and a player that Buckeyes fans should be excited to see take the field at Ohio Stadium come 2019.