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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Scouts: Paul James III could play early

By Craig Haubert

Illinois, which has built a solid 2013 class that currently sits in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten, landed its first ESPN 300 prospect in defensive lineman Paul James III (Miami/Norland). He is a promising prospect for a team that not only needs to replace some key contributors along the D-Line, but also needs to generally improve on defense after finishing near the bottom of the conference in total and scoring D.

With James, the Fighting Illini are getting a prospect who can offer them some versatility as he is listed as a D-End, but could develop into an interior player in time, or at least be a swing guy for them. He is an athletic and physical defender with good first-step quickness off the ball. He can be a disruptive presence and could be a stout edge run defender and then slide inside as a nickel rusher to gain more favorable matchups with his quickness and activity.

The four-star can be a little reckless at times and needs to continue to improve his technique, but he possesses good tools he can develop upon. James now leads a solid group of defensive linemen in their 2013 class as they already have commits from a pair of high three-star DTs in Jarrod Clements (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) and Merrick Jackson (Belleville, Ill./Althoff Catholic) and with players like Akeem Spence and Michael Buchanan departing those are some good needed pickups.