November 24, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Jesse James (18) carries the ball during a 41 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State Football Top Players-#9 Jesse James

Today we continue our countdown of the top 10 players on the Penn State roster, or at least according to Eric and I.  John Urschel, and all around genius, started things off at #10.  Next up is one of the more underrated players in the Big 10, tight end Jesse James.

It is somewhat easy to see how the sophomore from Glassport, PA gets overlooked.  For one, his teammate Kyle Carter was a 1st team All Big 10 selection (at least according to the media, but that’s another story), putting together an impressive first season.  But as a true freshman, James showed a knack for making a big play exactly when it was needed.  There is no better example of that than his 4th down catch and run that ended up going for 41 yards, and the go ahead touchdown in the emotional season finale versus Wisconsin.  All told, James ended the season with 15 receptions, 5 of them for TDs, and over 18 yards a catch.

Headed into 2013, it seems likely that James will take another step in his second collegiate season, and second season in the complex Bill O’Brien offense.  James was one of the first players to be singled out by O’Brien in 2012 as impressing, and that full winter with Coach Fitz should pay huge dividends.  On top of that, tight ends always seem to provide a safety valve of sorts for a quarterback.  With a first time starter under center this fall, I expect James, and the other tight ends to see a lot of the ball.

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Tags: Football Jesse James Penn State Nittany Lions

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