Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin
Height: 6:04.1 Weight: 263
Overview: Regarded as one of the premier pass rushers in college football, Erasmus James made a successful recovery from a career-threatening hip injury suffered prior to the 2003 season. This is not a player that took your everyday path to college football notoriety. Born on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts (his father is press secretary to the nation's prime minister), James moved to The Bronx, New York, and grew up there as a child. He then moved to Florida as a high school freshman, where he became a standout basketball player, but was convinced to try football in his senior year. The Badgers are lucky he did, as the UW coaches saw him at an all-star game in Florida and the rest, as they say, is history. In James' one season on the gridiron at McArthur (Fla.) High, he earned third-team All-State honors after posting 53 tackles with 14 sacks and 23 stops for losses. James was academically ineligible in 2000, but appeared in every game as a reserve right defensive end in 2001, collecting 36 tackles (20 solo) with six sacks, seven stops for losses and three forced fumbles. He took over the right defensive end spot as a junior in 2002, registering 17 quarterback pressures, four sacks, seven stops for losses and 52 tackles (32 solo), despite playing later in the year by a knee sprain. A hip injury during 2003 preseason drills kept him on the sidelines for the entire season. He returned to action in 2004, shifting to left end, and was having a solid season until suffering an ankle sprain against Purdue that would force him to sit out the Northwestern game and limit his action against Minnesota. James finished the season with 36 tackles (27 solo), a career-high eight sacks, 11.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and seven pressures. In 36 games as a Badger, Erasmus totaled 124 tackles (79 solo) with 18 sacks for minus-120 yards, 25.5 stops for losses of 145 yards, 28 quarterback pressures, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six pass deflections.
Analysis: Positives Tall, lanky athlete who needs to add bulk and muscle tone to his frame. Has very good quickness off the edge, showing effective pass rush moves to escape the offensive tackle and pursue the play in the backfield. While he is picking up the technological aspects of the game, he is still learning, as he is not quite as instinctive to blocking schemes as he should be. Shows good hand usage to stack and shed with leverage and reach. Can string plays out and force the action back inside and shows very good wrap-up tackling technique. James struggles a bit to get good leverage vs. the larger blockers, but showed in 2004 that he could improve in this area with increased strength. His burst off the edge makes him a player that offensive tackles must always account for. Will always give good effort and will not hesitate to make arm tackles in he can't get good position. Very effective on stunts to the inside, as he has the hand quickness to make decent rush moves on the blocker. Needs to use his hands better to defeat low blocks, but improved in that area during 2004. Shows good lower leg drive and power versus the run and has the lateral agility to work through trash and traffic to get to the ball. Has developed effective rip, swim and club moves to split double teams. Does a good job of stringing out plays and forcing the action back inside. Shows suddenness working the inside stunts and uses his hands to slip off the offensive tackles coming off the edge. Has good timing and leaping ability to deflect passes at the line of scrimmage. His hip injury in 2003 and other assorted ankle and knee problems will always be an issue. This could scare off a few teams. Needs to dedicate the bulk of his spare time to increasing his strength, but he proved in 2004 that he can be a difference maker, if he can stay healthy.
Agility tests: 4.75 in the 40-yard dash. ... 325-pound bench press. ... 600-pound squat. ... 340-pound power clean. ... 34.5-inch vertical jump. ... 33 5/8-inch arm length. ... 9 -inch hands. ... Right-handed. ... 15/37 Wonderlic score.
High school: Attended McAarthur (Hollywood, Fla.) High, playing football as a senior for coach Keith Franklin. ... First-team All-District and second-team All-Broward County choice, adding third-team All-State accolades on the gridiron. ... Participated in the Dade vs. Broward All-Star Game and the Broward County North vs. South contest. ... Named the school's outstanding defensive lineman. ... Credited with 53 tackles, 23 stops for losses and 14 sacks in his senior year. ... Also excelled in basketball.
Personal: Criminal Justice and Sociology major. ... Son of Evrine James. ... Born 11/04/82 in Saint Kitts. ... Resides in Hollywood, Florida.
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