GHS's James commits to Oregon


Gainesville's Tony James breaks a tackle on his way to a 96-yard touchdown run against Madison County on Sept. 13.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 11:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 11:06 p.m.

Gainesville High running back Tony James has verbally committed to Oregon during a weekend trip to Eugene, choosing the Ducks over Auburn, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio State and Florida.

James, a two-time first-team all-area and elite sprinter, said in a text message several factors played a part in his decision.

“Family environment, great player and coach relationship, small college town, great facilities, coaches and everything,” James texted.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior, No. 23 in The Sun's Top 50 senior recruits in Florida, leads the Hurricanes (3-1) in rushing with 314 yards and two touchdowns, which includes a 93-yard run against Madison County. He ran for 1,067 yards and eight TDs, including a 92-yard scoring run, in 2012 when GHS reached its first state final (Class 6A vs. Miami Central) in 32 years. Also in that backfield was Ralph Webb, the area's leading rusher who is currently at Vanderbilt. ESPN ranks James as the No. 164 national recruit while 247 Sports ranks him No. 15 in the country as an all-purpose back. James, who was hampered by injury during track season his junior year, has run an area-best 10.52 in the 100 meters. Verbal commitments are non-binding. National Signing Day is Feb. 5, 2014.

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