- Corey Dowlar, RecruitingNation
College coaches can usually gauge a prospect's interest by whether or not they make the effort to come to campus and attend a camp.
ESPN 300 running back Jamel James (Katy, Texas/Cinco Ranch) probably proved his point arriving in Tallahassee on Wednesday morning -- about 740 miles and 12 hours later.
"It was a long ride," laughed James. "Me and my coach drove. It was a pretty long drive, pretty boring, actually, until we got into Florida."
It didn't take that long for James to impress. Early on, it seems like the feeling is mutual.
Even though James has only been on campus for a matter of hours, his first look has been a good one.
"The campus is beautiful," said James, 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds. "There are very down-to-earth people here. The first lady I met, she gave me like four hugs before she even knew my name. That's pretty nice to see people be able to do that. It shows a lot about the whole campus and the whole football program here."
Florida State found themselves a competitive advantage in Christian Morgan (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian Academy), a Seminoles commitment.
"That's my buddy," James said with a smile. "That is my buddy. He's in my ear. Me and him became best friends when we were both interested in Washington. After all of that, we just stuck with it and stuck together. We are about to go have a conversation about college right now.
"We plan on going to the same college because me and him are a dominant duo. We already know that before we even play together."
The math isn't exactly difficult here. Morgan committed to Jimbo Fisher on June 26 to make good on his half of the deal.
James understands that. And while he hasn't gone ahead and made the decision yet, it is looking like a viable option.
"He's committed to here and I am just scoping it out like he did when he first came here," James said. "He waited a couple of days, a week, until he made his final decision and he said that he loves it. I can see why. The people are a different breed to Texas people. It is real different, but I like it."
The Florida State coaching staff spent a lot of time watching the prized talent go through drills. When he took time to rest in between repetitions, they spent it talking to him.
It is the kind of attention the nation's No. 223 overall player is looking for.
"I have been talking to them a lot," James explained. "They have offered me -- not today, a while back -- and I have just been sitting on it and thinking about it and seeing what I like. I came out and visited and it is good so far. I am loving it. The coaches are talking to me a lot and showing me the love. I like it when they do that.
"He knew me before I could say my name," he added of Fisher. "We had a pretty good conversation. He seems pretty interested in me as long as all the other coaches do, too."
Over the remainder of his trip, James will tour the campus and the surrounding area to get a feel for what life as a student-athlete at FSU is like.
The undecided tailback, who also has offers from Arkansas, Houston, LSU, Texas Tech, USC and West Virginia, has targeted an area of study once enrolled at his school of choice. Florida State also appears safe on that front.
"We saw most of it today," James said of the FSU campus. "We didn't get to go see too much of the academic side of things, but they pointed some stuff out. I want to venture out and see it.
"I would like to major in physical therapy and it sounds like they have a pretty darn good program here. I am just here to learn."
3dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon