Scouting Report: Derwin James, SS, Florida State

Haines City, FL | 6021 | 211 | 4.45E | 2020

Excellent blend of size, speed and power! One of the most versatile prospects in the nation, as he has lined up as an edge rusher, dropped back in coverage and even saw time at linebacker, in addition to fielding punts. Demonstrates a high football IQ with natural instincts and breaks on the ball as good as anyone. Has been known to lay some bone jarring hits that results in knocking the ball loose. Plays with an intense demeanor and has been praised for his leadership skills. Routinely makes incredible one-handed catches during FSU practices. Possesses the ability to serve as an offensive weapon at the skill positions if provided the opportunity. Missed the final 11 games of 2016 with a torn meniscus and was awarded a redshirt. He had the cartilage sewn back together, in order to minimize the risk of chronic knee problems in the future [he no longer wears a knee brace]. Despite the injury, he remained a team leader and traveled on every road trip. He’s at his best when allowed to be aggressive in the safety role. There are some close to the program who believe he is a higher rated prospect than Jalen Ramsey.


2016: Arguably the nation’s top defensive player, suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee against Charleston Southern in Week 2…missed the rest of the season following the injury and received a redshirt…collected ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors after totaling a team-best eight tackles and his first career interception against No. 11 Ole Miss in the season-opening comeback win…interception came on Rebels’ quarterback Chad Kelly – one of the nation’s top signal-callers…named a preseason All-American by nearly every publication…remained a team leader and traveled on nearly every road trip despite the injury.

2015: Lived up to the recruiting hype and proved to be one of the best freshmen in the country, finishing with 91 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, five pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, two fumbles forced and two fumble recoveries…earned All-ACC third team honors from the media and All-America Honorable Mention accolades from…named a Freshman All-American by Sporting News, USA Today and…nation’s only returning player with 90+ tackles and 9+ TFLs…appeared in all 13 games, making eight consecutive starts to end the year.

High School/Personal: Consensus top defensive back in the nation and a five-star recruit in the 2015 class…committed to the Seminoles in 2012…rated the nation’s No. 1 safety by ESPN, Rivals, 247Sports and Scout…ranked the No. 5 player in the country and Florida’s top safety prospect by Rivals…rated the nation’s No. 4 overall player and the second-best prospect in Florida by 247Sports…ranked the sixth-best player in the country by Scout and No. 8 in the ESPN300…starred at safety in the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game where he led Team Highlight to a 46-6 victory…had 94 tackles and four interceptions in eight games for Haines City High School in 2014…added 11 receptions for 181 yards and two scores on offense…captured 2014 American Family Insurance All-USA Football Second Team honors and All-Florida First Team accolades…2014 Florida All-State Class 7A First Team selection…selected Florida State over offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Miami…born August 3, 1996…majoring in criminology.