Bobby Acosta has only been the head coach at Del Valle (Texas) for the spring, coming over after a national title run at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, but he recognized one of his top college football prospects relatively right away.
It's hard to miss 6'3", 180-pound sophomore wide receiver Braylon James. College coaches sure haven't missed him on the virtual recruiting trail as he's collected more than two dozen verbal scholarship offers to date. Several others are in communication to potentially do the same.
Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Penn State and others have each jumped in over the last two weeks alone. Ohio State offered in April, Stanford did so in March, Cal in February, etc.
"The first thing you see is that he has length," Acosta said. "He has big hands, good speed, good body control. Then you watch his ball skills...he has tremendous ball skills.
"But then you talk to him, and talk to the family -- and we talk about five-star young men -- and that's what he is."
A few college coaching staffs will be able to validate the off-the-field claims in person in the coming weeks as the NCAA recruiting dead period lifts on June 1. It will allow prospective student-athletes to make unofficial visits and camp visits to programs from coast to coast.
"I’m still trying to piece my schedule together so there’s a lot of last minute things I wanna fit in," James told SI All-American. "But the first week (in June) I’ll be in California visiting Stanford and Cal. That following week I’m heading to Louisiana to see LSU. And the week after I’m at Ohio State.
"I’m still fitting more in but those are my for-sures right now."
James broke out in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season Del Valle competed within. In just six games of varsity action, the wide receiver hauled in 39 passes for 419 yards and five touchdowns.
"He has a really bright future," Acosta said. "I think with the summer, with our training moving forward, he's really going to blossom into one of the best receivers in his class."
As the rising-junior works to prove his new coach's lofty point, he will also navigate the college football recruiting process, beginning with the set of June trips across America. Beyond that point, though, there is no rush to make an early verbal commitment.
This time next year, however, James could be approaching crunch time with that portion of the process. The broad list of options are to be trimmed.
"I want have my top four probably around this time of next year," he said. "I'm just enjoying this process.
'It feels good to be living in my dream!"
James, who was an all-district selection for his fall 2020 effort, is already committed to play in the 2023 Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando.