Gators LB Commit Shemar James Shuts Down Recruitment Despite Alabama Push

Following an impressive showing at the Florida Gators' Friday Night Lights event, 2022 LB Shemar James spoke with AllGators in an exclusive interview re-affirming his commitment.
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Photo: Shemar James; Credit: Zach Goodall

Recruitment is all wrapped up for Florida Gators LB commit Shemar James even with a relentless effort from Alabama to secure the top-flight linebacker.

On Friday night, the Faith Academy (Ala.) linebacker officially shut down his recruitment, telling AllGators that he has "no plans" to take any more visits, including to his in-state college program, Alabama.

The Crimson Tide has tried to get James on campus plenty of times despite his commitment to Florida. Both defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach Pete Golding and outside linebackers coach Sal Sunseri have been the primary coaches making contact with the young recruit.

Still, even while knowing Alabama will continue to recruit him until he officially signs with the Gators, it's Florida for James and it will remain that way: "Shut down." 

Earlier in the day, James competed on Florida's Friday Night Lights event, showcasing his talent in front of coaches, family, friends and teammates alike.

It would be James' first opportunity to put his work on display in front of Florida coaches since he committed to the program in June of this year. The feeling this time was different, James said Friday night, there's no more pressure.

"I felt so much more comfortable," James said. "Like knowing that I'm committed, knowing this will be my home next fall. So I mean, it was just relaxing, really."

Considering the performance James had during the event, it was clear he was cool, calm and collected running through drills. During the latter portion of the event, James and other linebackers competed against the tight ends and running backs in coverage.

For James, there wasn't much of an issue, routinely playing in the hip pocket of his opponent, redirecting and disrupting routes on the way to a winning rep.

Following some of the reps during the session, James was able to meet with Florida LB coach Christian Robinson, who coached up the soon-to-be Florida linebacker on the subtle aspects of his game. It was the first time the two were able to meet on the gridiron together as player and coach.

"He makes you understand," James said of Robinson's coaching style. "Everything he say, he always focused on the little details ... those little details will take you a long way."

Robinson coached James up on the reps he lost, but also those he won. Little details such as staying more inside, keeping his eyes on the hips of the receivers and attacking the running backs at the line of scrimmage. Those sorts of details can ascend a player from good to great.

James is expecting to play numerous positions in Florida's defense, whether it will be the MONEY linebacker spot and even STAR nickel corner at times, similarly to senior LB Amari Burney.

Being able to play in just one spot, no longer focusing on wide receiver or other positions while at Faith Academy excites James, and he knows he can get better simply because of that. 

Ultimately, just getting back on campus for James was nice, he said, and it was almost as if the coaches knew him for a long time.

"It was just it was just nice. Getting back on campus talking to coach [Dan] Mullen, coach C-Rob, coach [Chase] Clark, it was just a good feeling to know that I'm committed."

And committed he will stay.