For so long, he watched. He waited.
FSU safety Derwin James had become a memory. The former star for the Seminoles, perhaps one of their best defensive players, waited for 176 days – and 11 games – as his left knee healed.
Now, James is back.
And, yeah, it was worth the wait.
“I remember the long days, it was like an everyday thing, where they would tell me, ’no no no, just take it day by day’” James told the Tallahassee Democrat.
“I’m happy I’m back out here now, though.”
Going into last season, James was expected to be the best player on the FSU defense. But he tore ligaments against Georgia Southern and was unable to come back.
Throughout his journey, James said he has learned something.
“Don’t take nothing for granted,” he said.
“Football is a gift. I learned a lot just by watching it. I just take everything even more serious now. Working harder.”
He has also picked up a new role for the Seminoles, lining up to return punts on special teams.
“We put the ball with the guys that have the best hands, and the best ability to run with it,” Jimbo Fisher said. “There are not many positions he can’t play.”
Said James: “I like the ball in my hands. I joke with Coach [Fisher] all the time like ‘Coach, I can do something for the team that could help us.’ Coach is just giving me the opportunity.”