Notre Dame has been searching for the right running back prospect to come in with next year's recruiting class and it appears they've found him.
Texas running back Jamel James has decided to join Irish and become their 18th commitment in the Class of 2013.
“I just committed,” James told Irish Sports Daily on Saturday afternoon.
The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder from Cinco Ranch High School (Katy, Texas) picked up an offer from the Irish during the spring evaluation period and maintained contact with Notre Dame assistant Kerry Cooks since then.
“Me and Coach Cooks had been talking for a while ever since spring football started,” James said. “I’ve just been really thinking about where I wanted to go and Notre Dame has always been there, sitting there waiting. I finally came around to realizing that’s where I need to go.”
James also had offers from Florida State, Houston, LSU, Texas Tech, USC and West Virginia, but the lure of wearing the blue and gold on Saturdays proved to be too much.
“The tradition is crazy,” he said. “I haven’t even been down there and I can just feel the tradition. And I know for sure that I’m going to get a good education by going there and that’s the main thing I’m looking for. I’m looking forward to being on a good football team and they definitely have a good program.”
James hasn't been to South Bend yet, but already has plans to do so.
“Me and Coach Cooks have built a pretty good relationship over the past few months,” he said. “They’ve already set it up for me to come up for an official visit when they play Michigan. It was bound to happen and I just wanted to pull the trigger before I even got there.”
He was initially committed to Arkansas, but decommitted after the firing of head coach Bobby Petrino.
“The whole thing with Coach Petrino made it fall apart,” said James. “I learned my lesson about just being interested in a school for the head coach. I’m not just interested in Notre Dame for the head coach. I’m interested in the academics, the tradition, everything about Notre Dame. When you say, ‘Notre Dame,’ it just brings many good things to your mind.”
There was a lot of excitement when James made the call on Saturday.
“Coach Cooks loved it,” said James. “He was as excited as me. We were both about to cry when we were talking. They told me a couple things that Coach Kelly told him and we’ve been ready to make this thing happen already and it finally happened. We got what we both wanted.”
James said his recruitment is now finished.
“I’m 100 percent committed,” he said. “I’m taking every one of my visits to Notre Dame.”
James helped lead the Cougars to a 9-3 record last season as he rushed for 1,011 yards and 16 touchdowns. He says he clocked a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash earlier this summer.
“I’m a power and a finesse guy. I plan to bring everything with me to Notre Dame.”