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April 23, 2012
Harker Heights offensive lineman Darius James is having to show a little patience as he keeps his eyes on the big picture.
James, one of the country's top offensive line prospects and an early Texas Longhorn commitment, is sitting out Harker Heights' spring season as he rehabilitates a foot injury he suffered earlier this year. It's killing him to have to watch from the sidelines, but James knows he's best served to follow his doctor's instruction and not try to rush back into action before he's ready.
"It's pretty tough not being out there, walking around and knowing you could help," James said. "But at same time, it helps me be a leader. I can go out there and help coach, help the other guys on some of the things they need to do."
James' broken foot is close to being back to 100 percent. He's out of his walking boot and if things continue to progress, he'll begin running again in May. Currently, while his Harker Heights teammates are busy on the field during spring practices, most of James' time is spent getting the foot ready.
I do a lot of rehab and stuff. I'm doing some range of motion stuff, ultrasound, one leg squats, balance stuff. Then I go into the weight room after school."
Once he's able to get back to his full load of workouts, James said his focus will be on fine-tuning his technique and getting himself back into playing shape. Being immobilized has limited his ability to stay conditioned, but James is confident he'll get back on track quickly.
"I'll be doing a lot of weights and conditioning, technique stuff. Just everything to be a better football player," James said. "I'm a little out of shape due to the injury."
The 6-5, 319-pound James will get a shot to show everyone he's back in form at a Longhorn mini-camp on June 3. He'll be joined by a large number of future teammates at that event, and James plans to show everyone that he's up to his usual lofty standards.
"I want to just show everybody that I'm back at 100 percent. Show everyone I'm still me," James said.
The Rivals100 member said he speaks with Texas offensive line coach Stacy Searels about every other week, with the two talking about grades, family life and "life rules." James remains 100 percent committed to the Longhorns and he's happy to have his decision behind him.
"Mostly everybody else has tried to back off (since his commitment), James said. "It feels really good to have it out of the way. Now I don't have to worry about anything but my grades and playing football."
James is ranked as the nation's best center prospect. He checks in at No. 8 on the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100.
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