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Derwin James staying grounded in spite of national attention

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Could the star safety be used in a limited capacity on offense this year?

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Florida State Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

The legend of Derwin James seems to grow more epic with each passing day.

The Florida State safety was named the No. 1 college football player in the nation by ESPN on Tuesday after he received the same honor from Sports Illustrated back in June.

“That means it's possible for you to do that. What he's got to do is take possible and make it probable,” Fisher said of James being named the top player in the country. “You have to do that by performing and practicing every week, being detail oriented and not worrying about that and just playing the game.”

As Fisher alluded to, James is doing well to stay grounded while the preseason accolades fly his way.

“I haven’t done anything yet. I’ve only played in 11 games, I still feel like I have some improvement,” James said of the overwhelming praise that has been thrown his way this offseason. “It’s great to have that, but I feel like I haven’t reached my full potential yet so I just have to play.”

A large part of James’ thrall is his knack for making plays like this

and this

and who could forget this?

The two most unbelievable things from the above clips are that they are all from his freshman season and that all of these plays came from him in different positions on the field. He may specialize as a safety, but he can competently play just about anywhere on the defense as exemplified by his destruction of UF’s right tackle as an edge rusher.

James has also been used as a returner dating back to his return in spring practice.

But could that extend to the offensive side of the ball as well?

“Yeah, he could do that,” Fisher said of the possibility of James on offense. “He could go out there and run, catch a pass, run a reverse.”

“You’ve seen him. He’s a freak of nature,” Auden Tate agreed. “He can do anything.”

The precedent was set last season with Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers (Drink) and many pundits are considering James the next step up from Peppers.

“I love the ball. It’s all about the ball,” James said. “If coach wants to put it in my hands, I’m gonna take care of it.”

A follow up question came after, asking where James believes he could succeed on offense. His answer was a simple one.

“Anywhere.”