Perseverance Leads James Into Leadership Role|
Adam James has enjoyed a memorable senior season on the field.
November, 9 2011
by Britton Drown
Adam James could have left. The harassing voicemails, the emails, and the letters--they all pushed him to. It would have been an easy escape for the receiver from Celina, Texas. But Texas Tech was a school, and a community that James quickly became attached to from his initial visit as a recruit. The small town in West Texas with the high-powered offense was something he longed to become a part of.
That never changed.
"I love Texas Tech," James said on Tuesday during his first meeting with the media since the events of December 2009. "I've always loved it. I want to graduate from here. All my life I've wanted to be associated with Texas Tech."
And so he stayed.
It was a decision he went about quietly and bravely. He remained close to his family, and the idea of transferring to another school was something that never surfaced between them.
See, his family knows him, much like his teammates--all of whom have stuck by his side throughout the previous two years. They knew he wouldn't leave. James is loyal. He's steadfast, and he is unwavering in his commitment and passion for Texas Tech.
"When all of the smoke clears, we are all here for one goal," James said. "That is to help each other win."
He's grown during the previous two years, and he will tell you just that. Years many college students could not have endured.
"I've been proud of Adam," head coach Tommy Tuberville added. "He's been one of the best leaders that we've had on this team."
On top of the harassing voicemails (his phone number was stolen and posted in the Internet) and the persistent emails, James dealt with consistent ridicule from fans at his own games.
Still, he learned persistence. He continued to wear the Texas Tech jersey, the one he cares so deeply about, with pride--nobody and no situation, however difficult, could steal it from him.
"Does it bother me?" James said. "No. Not really. The people that know me as a person, they know what I'm about. They know who I am, and what kind of person I am."
His teammates know. As a senior, James has seamlessly grown into a leader on the team, both vocally and on the field. He did so in the midst the most productive, and likely memorable season of his career.
"With Adam, when he gets up and says something, you know it's coming from his heart," Doege said earlier this season. "He means it. He cares a lot about this football team, so when he talks, everybody listens."
James has recorded a career-high 19 catches through nine games this season for a career-best 579 yards and one touchdown--a game-tying catch in the first quarter against Texas A&M.
In the Red Raiders' upset win at No. 1 Oklahoma, James caught a then career-high five passes for 75 yards. Many of those receptions were crucial, helping to extend drives late in the 41-38 victory over the Sooners.
Tuberville called it a `breakout performance' for James, and added that he has continued to improve and show leadership with each passing week of the season.
"I have taken a lot of pride in showing up every day with a positive attitude," James said. "Whether things were going good or bad personally, I've never brought my emotions to the field house. I think that has really allowed me to work hard every day."
But above anything, James wants to be known, and remembered, for who he is as a person. He longs for fans to get to know him, to understand that he truly cares about the Texas Tech football program.
"I think they would find out that I'm just like anybody else," James said. "I'm just a normal person and a normal football player here trying to help my team win."
On Saturday, James will play in his final game at Jones AT&T Stadium. He will walk down the field with his mother, Marilyn, along with his brother and sister. The crowd of those who don't truly know James, the senior who simply loves his school and his team, doesn't worry him.
In fact, it's something that his teammates have joked to him about in recent weeks. They too will be watching, and there is no doubt in James' mind that they will be cheering for their senior leader.
"The people that are cheering, that's great," James says. "The people that are booing, like I said, I wish that they would take the opportunity to get to know me."
James doesn't look at his career as being defined by the events of December 2009. That's not in his personality. After all, Texas Tech is still, and always has been the same school that he fell in love with during his first visit to Lubbock as an anxious high school football player from Celina, Texas.
When he leaves, that's the very image he will hold with him, because that's what he made it to be through persistence, passion, leadership, and perhaps above all, by being himself.
"It has by far been the greatest experience of my life," James said. "I have learned so much about football, about life, not just from that experience. I wouldn't change a thing for anything. I love Texas Tech. I love this program and I'm very happy that I have been here, and that I stayed here."