By Brandon Gann
AUBURN, Ala. - Darius James’ journey to Auburn began with a detour. One of the nation’s top high school offensive linemen, the Killeen, Texas, native signed with the University of Texas before transferring to the Plains, a place he says felt like home.
“[The Auburn Family] means a lot. It’s what drew me to come here,” James says. “I really cherish everything the best fans in college football have.”
Family is a big deal for James, who has become close with his teammates over the past two years. Sitting out the 2015 season as a transfer, James used that time to work and build relationships with those he now sees as his brothers. Many college students say they’ll miss their friends when they leave school, but James has a unique and uplifting way of looking at it.
“I’m never going to miss them, because I’ll always have them,” James says.
Nearing the end of his collegiate journey, James has only has positive things to say about reaching his senior season. “It feels good to know I’ve paid my dues and I’ve come up to being a senior at Auburn,” he says. “It really means a lot.”
Time management is his biggest challenge when juggling responsibilities in the classroom and on the field, James says. That is what James stresses to help Auburn’s younger players grow, along with the importance of building relationships.
“It’s helped me create more people skills,” he says. “Family is the cornerstone of everything and I really learned that here.”
James’ goals for 2017 are as big as he is. Not only does the 6-foot-4, 324-pound lineman want to help the team gain a national championship, he wants to be the best player and teammate he can be. “I get to take a bigger role, and do whatever I need to do to help the team,” James says.
While James is unsure where life will take him after Auburn, he says his faith in God leaves him in a position where he doesn’t have to worry, although he would like to play in the NFL. Wherever James goes next, he will miss one special Auburn tradition.
“Tiger Walk. That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” he says. “Just the camaraderie, how the fans are always on your side. You’re always wanted here and you’ll always be part of the family.”
Brandon Gann was a student assistant with Auburn Athletics Communications during the spring semester.