The Buccaneers traded LeGarrette Blount late on Saturday for a seventh round selection then promptly packaged the pick with another to move up to select Miami running back Mike James.
Within a few minutes of trading running back LeGarrette Blount, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Polk County native and Miami Hurricanes running back Mike James to compete for the vacated roster spot.
James grew up a Bucs fan and was pleased when the call came.
“It is something I cannot explain,” James said. ‘It is probably one of the best days of my life. I am happy to be a Buc. It is a blessing. “I grew up in Polk County about 40 minutes away from the stadium. I definitely grew up watching the Bucs. I went to a few Bucs games growing up. Happy to be back home.”
James from Haines City, Fla played 50 games for the Hurricanes including, 13 games his freshmen year, with the majority of it at fullback.
As a senior James (5-11, 222 pounds), started all 12 games at running back while also seeing time on special teams and fullback. In 2012 James ran for a career-best 621 yards and six touchdowns, while adding 344 yards and three TDs as a receiver.
James best game during his tenure in Miami came as a senior against the Duke Blue Devils in which James had 164 all-purpose yards, rushing for 67 yards while also nabbing 97 yards receiving and one TD.
During a conference call shortly after the Buccaneers selected him, James was asked about his skill set and what he brings to the table.
“I am an excellent ball catcher out of the backfield,” James said. “I pass protect very well. I am a one cut and go kind of runner. I am a versatile player. I line up anywhere and become a mismatch for as many teams as possible. That is something that I have to say suits me best.”
James appears to fall in the Dominik-Schiano “captain” mold, as he was won the Hurricanes 2012 Captains Award in addition to winning the team’s Leadership and Most Valuable Player Award. The former Ridge Community High School star earned his degree in December 2012.
“I learned a lot about myself through my college career,” James said. “Just from my patience and being able to wait my turn and being able to understand that this game is about taking the right chances and making the right moves and making the right plays. That is something that I learned from college. It definitely prepared me for the next transition to life and I am going to equip that to everything I do from now forward.”–Victoria Horchak contributed to this story
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