Early Entry Review: James putting on muscle

Early Entry Review

by Alyssa Britton-Harr

Please Read: Welcome to the new-look Inside the Gators

As is the case with many arriving true freshmen, according to Orlando (Fla.) Olympia head coach Travis Gabriel, perhaps the biggest advantage defensive lineman Kamran James has gained since enrolling early is learning how to find balance in being a student-athlete.

“Him enrolling early was to his benefit in learning how to be a college student, let alone a college football player,” Gabriel said. “It was a great experience for him because he got that early jump without all the hyphens of actual college football in the fall.”

For most college students learning to be independent creates maturity. Still, as a student-athlete, there comes a great deal of responsibility to ensure they can perform to the best of their ability on game days.

“He has been doing very well balancing school, practices, and workouts,” Gabriel said. “Everyone I have spoken with says he is doing phenomenally well there.”

James excelled in his high school career at Olympia, but since being in Florida has continued to put in the effort to become a better player.

“One thing I know about Kamran is that he is never going to be satisfied; he always wants to do better,” Gabriel said. “He is adjusting great and is going to get himself involved in the community.”

James has already begun that process through Florida Victorious.

James has volunteered at the YMCA to help teach swim lessons ensuring that children learn essential water safety skills. He also worked with Title Town and the Gator Club to clean up the roads of Alachua County.

With James’ involvement in the community and the hard work he has put into the practices working with the football team, his success rate is not abnormal to those who have seen what he is capable of doing.

“He is going to work hard, he is not going to complain, and he is going to do the same thing in the classroom,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel shared with Inside the Gators the feedback he has received from co-defensive coordinator, and defensive line coach Sean Spencer on James’ progress over the last six months.

“All positive and all good, that he is learning and getting better,” Gabriel said. “All the things they tell me Kamran is doing are not surprising to me because that is who Kamran was in high school.”

The positive feedback that James has received from the program and the coaches he has worked with has allowed him to get better. However, a significant adjustment he had to make was being in the realm of many other highly recruited athletes with similar strengths.

“It made him realize there are guys out there ‘just like me’, working hard, so I need to make sure I continue to work hard to get better,” Gabriel said.

Taking advantage of advanced strength and conditioning to go along with nutritional advice, James has remained at a steady 268 pounds, but he has taken most of the baby fat he had and turned it into muscle.

“He is 268, but he doesn’t look like that anymore; he looks around 250 because of the muscle mass he has gained at Florida,” Gabriel said.

Having made some big changes since becoming a Gator, James has created a structure that has helped him improve his game, whether working on gaining more muscle or working with the nutritionist the team provides.

James was able to go through spring ball and, with the spring game, get a preview of what game days look like in the Swamp.

“For him, it’s power five football compared to high school football,” Gabriel said. “He goes from small things to having from maybe 65 guys out there to now probably 100, you go from having eight to nine coaches to now 20-something coaches out there.”

The goal for every incoming player is to be on the field eventually. That’s no different for James, but there is a higher purpose as well.

“Kamran is going to do whatever he has to do to help Florida win games, whatever that is,” Gabriel said. “That has always been his goal to help the team win.”

Go to discussion...

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  1. When you multiply what James is doing by the number of recruits from this cycle who enrolled early, its easy to see how much faster a program can improve with early enrollment and an elite conditioning program.
  2. Look at his arms and legs in the picture at the top.

    He looks like a toothpick compared to other defensive linemen.

    He can\'t play this year.

    They need to fatten him up for 2024.
  3. Look at his arms and legs in the picture at the top.

    He looks like a toothpick compared to other defensive linemen.

    He can\'t play this year.

    They need to fatten him up for 2024
  4. You never "fatten up" an athlete. He's been in the weight room and done a lot of work. His weight is the same but there's no body fat and lots of new muscle.

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