When Robert Craft began his first spring practice as the head coach at North Forsyth back in 2016, he had some talented players, including a young freshman named Jeremy James.
Craft always has confidence in his players, but at the time, James didn’t exactly look the part of the cornerstone piece that he would eventually become for the Raiders.
“He was a good-sized player but not somebody that you'd walk in immediately in a room and go, ‘That kid's going to play in the SEC,’” he said. “Just to watch him develop and grow is a credit to him and how hard he's worked and got better year after year after year.”
After all his work and four productive years at North, the SEC is exactly where the 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive lineman will go, as James signed his letter of intent to play football at Ole Miss on Wednesday morning. He becomes the first SEC signee in North Forsyth’s 25-year history.
The Rebels were always a prime destination on James’ radar, with Ole Miss being one of the James family’s favorite college teams.
“I'm just happy it's all over,” James said. “I found the school that I've always wanted to go to and I'm excited to get started.
“I've liked Ole Miss for a while now. The campus is amazing. It's a very family-friendly place and the coaches there are amazing. It's a good place to be.”
James was the most recruited prospect in the county this year, with plenty of top-tier Division I programs like Florida and Miami offering him. Ole Miss, Missouri and Nebraska were his three finalists, though, with the Cornhuskers even having a hat on the signing table, but distance from his family turned out to be an important factor in James’ decision.
“I enjoyed Nebraska, (but) it's just too far from home,” James said. “We just couldn't make that work.”
Rebels head coach Matt Luke being a former offensive line coach was certainly a plus as well, along with the fact that two other offensive linemen from the area signed with the Rebels on Wednesday – Buford’s Carter Colquitt and Reece McIntyre.
Since his freshman year, James morphed into a model of consistency for the Raiders, never missing a snap since Craft arrived. He and the rest of the North community are excited to see him represent the Raiders on one of the biggest stages in college football.
“I think for any player, to be described (as consistent) is
such a great description,” Craft said.
Your coaches and your teammates always know what they're going to get out of you.
“I'm excited to see how he does -- I think we'll be watching him on TV for several years to come.”