Miami Hurricanes Debate: Derwin James the next Sean Taylor?

ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 05: Evan Engram /
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ORLANDO, FL – SEPTEMBER 05: Derwin James
ORLANDO, FL – SEPTEMBER 05: Derwin James /

Despite only playing two games due to a season-ending meniscus tear in 2016, James was recently selected Sports Illustrated’s top college football player for the upcoming 2017 season. James will also be the highest graded returning safety next year per Pro Football Focus.

FSU has undoubtedly been a prominent staple and huge success on the recruiting trail under Jimbo Fisher. Looking back at James’ freshman campaign, for a true freshman to have that much of a statistical impact at a program like FSU is impressive.

Miami’s Taylor was predominantly a special teams and role player his true freshman year. There was the issue of a two-time All-American and future Pro Football Hall-of-Fame candidate Ed Reed in front of him. (Reed is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019)

James’ versatility is his defining trait and unparalleled in today’s game. James can line up essentially anywhere on the field. During James’ freshman season he was used as an edge rusher 70 times Four hundred and 50 of James’s 970 snaps came from the free safety position.

A sure tackler, James missed only four tackles in 2015. James is essentially already a proven commodity in run support. One play in particular where he abused a poor Florida Gator lineman shows you just how physically imposing James can be.