St. Xavier’s James: “I could see myself fitting in there…”

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Cincinnati St. Xavier OL Matt James

Cincinnati St. Xavier standout OL Matt James has a leader in his recruiting process, but adds there is still a lot of time left to go. In
the Lone Star State for this week’s U.S. Army All-America Bowl, the
four-star offensive tackle has listed Ohio State slightly ahead of his
other three finalists, Notre Dame, Florida and Cincinnati. He’s only visited one of them…


SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Matt James (St. Xavier High/Cincinnati, Ohio)
has a leader, but adds there is still a lot of recruiting to go.

In
the Lone Star State for this week’s U.S. Army All-America Bowl, the
four-star offensive tackle has listed Ohio State slightly ahead of his
other three finalists, Notre Dame, Florida and Cincinnati.

“I haven’t even taken (official) visits to the other three schools,” the 6-foot-7, 280-pound James said.

James is still planning his final three trips, but nothing is set in stone yet.

“(Ohio
State’s) the leader, they’re a great program,” James said.  “All four
are great programs, (Cincinnati) is a rising program, but they haven’t
had as much controversy as the other three. I haven’t (officially)
visited the other three either. That kind of puts them a little bit
ahead.”

James watched on New Year’s day as the Buckeyes defeated Oregon 26-17 in the Rose Bowl.

“(They) dominated,” James said.  “They played a great game.  I could see myself fitting in there.”

James also watched on New Year’s night as Cincinnati was routed by Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

“They
had it rough without their play caller there,” James said.  “It’s hard
when you have that many issues going on at once.  They had a great
year.  Without having their main play caller, without them having their
head coach, and with them having their interim coach taking a job (at
Buffalo), it’s obviously hard.”

James was referring to
new Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.  James has seen first-hand some of
the controversy that has come up from Kelly’s departure.

When
Kelly left Cincinnati, it caused an uproar among the local fans and
media that James sees and hears every day. However, it may have helped
the Irish in landing the St. Xavier standout’s services.

“For
Notre Dame it definitely helped them a lot because I like coach Kelly a
lot,” James said following the East team’s second practice of the day
on Monday. “It was kind of awkward for the community though because the
stuff on the radio, and everyone was so (mad) about the situation and
so upset with it. I think it was kind of his dream job and I totally
understand him taking the job.”

James has visited Kelly in his old office, and he is looking to check out his new digs in South Bend the weekend of Jan. 29th.

“I’m
planning on that,” James said.  “I haven’t officially talked to them
about it.  It’s not set in stone, but most likely, yeah.”

With National Signing Day fast approaching, James is trying to put trips to Florida and Cincinnati together as well.

James
has been on Notre Dame’s campus several times in the past. Later this
month, he is hoping to meet Kelly’s entire coaching staff.

“I
need to meet the new o-line coach,” James said.  “I don’t even know who
the new o-line coach is. I perceived it to be  (Jeff) Quinn, but Quinn
took the Buffalo job. It’s been kind of a crazy recruiting process with
everyone going everywhere.”

James is a fan of Notre Dame’s new strength coach Paul Longo in comparison to the Irish’s former director Ruben Mendoza.

“I like Longo a little better talking to both of them and meeting both of them,” James said.

James thinks a final college decision will come around National Signing Day.

“I
think comfort level will be the main thing, how I feel I fit in with
the program,” James said. “It’s hard to explain because all the
programs have great attributes.  But how I’ll feel about the program is
how I’ll make my decision.”

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