UMaine cornerback to play in all-star game, invited to NFL combine

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 14, 2014, at 11:49 a.m.

Kendall James’ final season at the University of Maine was a memorable one.

The senior cornerback helped the Black Bears win the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association football championship on his way to all-conference and All-America recognition.

Now, the speedy James is trying to take his game to the next level — the National Football League.

James has received an invitation to attend the NFL Scouting Combine set for Feb. 22-25 at Indianapolis.

“It’s a blessing. Not too many people come out of Maine to get a combine invite and put the school on the map, so I definitely want to take full advantage of it,” James said.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound defensive back joins former Black Bears Daren Stone (2007) and Jerron McMillian (2012) as the only players in program history to be invited to the combine, a showcase of the best available draft-eligible players in the country.

McMillian was a fourth-round choice of the Green Bay Packers and Stone was a sixth-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons.

On Saturday, James will play his last game before attending the combine when he competes in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. The senior all-star game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday at the StubHub Center on the campus of Cal State-Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif.

It will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

“It’s a lot of the top guys, kids from LSU, Georgia, all over,” James said.

James will be a member of the National squad, which is coached by former NFL head coach Dick Vermeil. Other cornerbacks on that team include Jimmy Legree of South Carolina, Kenneth Acker of SMU and Jordan Love of CAA foe Towson.

Among the receivers on the American team are Eric Ward of Texas Tech, Chris Gant of Hawaii and Appalachian State’s Tony Washington.

“I hope I’ve still got it,” said James, who has been dealing with a hamstring issue. “It’s been a while. When you’re sitting back running and lifting weights, it can take some time.”

James finished his senior season at UMaine with 36 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss of yardage. He also made two interceptions, had nine passes defended and blocked a kick.

With his efforts, James was named to the All-CAA second team after helping the Bears hold opponents to a league-low 165.4 passing yards per game.

James was subsequently selected for The Sports Network’s Football Championship Subdivision All-America first team and earned a spot on The Associated Press FCS second team.

Upon completion his schoolwork in December, James relocated to Pensacola, Fla., where he has been training in preparation for the combine at Athletes’ Performance.

“I’m still trying to get faster. I want to be one of the fastest people in the combine,” James said. “I’ve been working on speed stuff, jumping, my strength.

“They’ve got some good coaches down there, some good players,” he added.

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/01/14/sports/umaine-cornerback-to-play-in-all-star-game-invited-to-nfl-combine/ printed on September 21, 2014