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Freak of the Week: Eden James

Week 1 in high school football brings a new Freak of the Week performance from the son of an NFL Hall-of-Famer

"Freak" is a term thrown around too much in the sports world, but sometimes, it's the first phrase that crowds the cranium when a gaudy athletic feat takes place.

What about an entire game's worth of head-turning and gasps?

SI All-American continues its salute to these dominant high school football players in a weekly feature, aptly titled 'Freak of the Week' as the 2021 season kicked off nationally over the weekend. 

Eden James is the Week 1 Freak of the Week. 

The numbers were great, as he rushed for 267 yards and two touchdowns for Port St. Lucie (Fla.) Treasure Coast, but the opponent and the stage made the story blossom further. In leading the Titans to a 29-21 win over Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage, the No. 6 team nationally according to SB Live, the senior put his name and his team on the national stage. 

Ahead of Week 2, Treasure Coast now appears as the No. 24 team nationally, and No. 4 team in the state of Florida. 

"We just stuck to our bread and butter," James told SI All-American. "And on top of that, I trusted my O-line and the people that block for me, and I was just fearless out there. We're a very underrated team...and we needed the exposure against teams like American Heritage to show that we have Division I talent."

James, a senior in the class of 2022, has already proved as much. He boasts official scholarship offers from Army, Navy, Air Force, South Dakota and Howard, while verbal offers previously came in from Indiana, Wake Forest, Temple and others. 

Since the breakout, there has been steady contact between he and other programs interested in the running back, including Maryland, UCF, FIU and Western Kentucky. 

"I think Saturday night showed people what they've been looking for. A lot of people have been questioning if I was good or not, and I ran for 260 plus yards against the number six team in the nation.

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"I don't know how to explain it, ever since that game happened, I've been getting a lot of attention."

[Related: Week 0 FOTW Iverson Hooks]

After the breakout game, there was plenty of feedback for James, but of course he took most stock in his coaches and from his father, Edgerrin James. The Hall of Fame running back, inducted a few weeks prior, often chimes in on each performance. 

The younger James laughed when asked about pressure and/or expectations in having that last name.

"It has its good and its bad, but I try to look on the good side of it," he said. "The fact that he's been through certain things that I don't have to go through now. He's a Hall-of-Famer, so he has a very great amount of knowledge about the game. He's able to give me tips and advantages that I can use on the field. 

"He's always dad, though. He coaches me like a parent, not really like a coach. He's always blunt with me, always trying to point me in a positive direction. He's there to give advice and do what a dad's supposed to do, be there for their son."

Eden James is 5'10, 180 pounds as a high school senior while his father was a Parade All-American at 5'11, 215 pounds before moving on to the Miami Hurricanes. 

Like with the body composition, the types of runners vary beyond the bloodline. 

"I hear a lot of people say I run the ball just like him but I try to not compare myself to him," James said. "Our styles are different, I'm more elusive and he was more physical. He says my breakaway speed is much better than his." 

James said he will be navigating the recruiting process methodically, looking to reciprocate interest in a given program before making a college decision. He plans on taking an official visit to Howard this fall, but remains open otherwise.