The last time Daniel James was able to see Archie Collins in person, unfortunately, it was largely just in passing. Collins was pressed for time with a flight to catch.
But as Collins made the trip to McEachern High in Powder Springs, Georgia this time around, he stayed for a while longer. And he had some good news for James before he hit the road — the air, likely.
“We talked about Pitt, we talked about the system, and we talked about the defense,” James told PSN. “He asked me some questions about myself and other stuff like that. And at the end of it all, he offered me.”
It felt good to receive the offer, as it feels for any offer, but Pitt felt really good.
James — a 5-foot-11, 170-pound three-star cornerback in the class of 2024 — first started talking to Collins back in September. It was an immediate connection, a relationship that continued to blossom, but as more and more time passed, James is just happy the official offer process is complete.
And, of course, with that offer now officially extended, James feels like the relationship will only continue to get better and better.
#AGTG Blessed to have received an offer from Pittsburgh 🔵🟡 @ARCHIECOLLINS_ @georgiadeac10 @coachstephens56 @I_Am_OD3 @CREDOsportsperf @MohrRecruiting @Mansell247 @McEachernFtball pic.twitter.com/V5KS3NEXzb
— Daniel James ✞ (@Dan1James_) January 19, 2023
James’ recruitment has been consistent in recent months, especially after he made it out to the Adidas All-American National Combine, and he’s received offers from Appalachian State, Austin Peay, Charlotte, Eastern Kentucky, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Middle Tennessee State, North Carolina State and Tennessee.
He’s also received interest from Maryland, Miami and Mississippi State along the way.
In terms of actually making it out for visits, he’s been to local Georgia Tech a few times, attended a Tennessee game in the fall and visited NC State over the summer.
But, while Pitt is the latest offer, it’s not as if there wasn’t a connection already established. He said if he can’t make it up to Pittsburgh soon, he’ll either make it the trip during the spring or summer.
A big part of that connection is the relationship established between James and Collins right now. He isn’t completely familiar with Pitt yet, but he has begun to learn about how cornerbacks operate in Collin’s secondary.
“He definitely seems like a great coach,” James said. “He puts guys in the NFL, so he’s a great development coach. He trusts you. What you give, whatever you’ve got, if you do it right — no matter what age or class — he’s gonna put you on the field. He’s a great coach.”
Collins has certainly put his fair share of defensive backs into the NFL in recent seasons, and it’s partially due to the fact that Pitt cornerbacks are thrown into the fire and forced to grow right away.
Collins actually asked James Thursday about playing a physical style of defense.
“I like pressing, and he asked me if I like pressing,” James said. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, I like pressing.’ Because you basically just stop the route before it even happens if you press right.”
James’ ability to press, playing a physical brand of defense, is evident on film. As a junior at McEachern, he racked up 46 tackles (40 solo), an interception, a team-high 15 pass breakups, a forced fumble and blocked three kicks.
He also added 239 kick return yards (29.9 yards per return) on just eight attempts. But it’s the defensive back pedigree that has James eyeing Pitt.
“It’s one of the top places to go if your ultimate goal is to reach the NFL level,” James said. “If you can do something there, you’ve got a shot.”
While James isn’t officially ready to narrow down his list of offers yet, Pitt is definitely on his mind. And in his top five, too. He likes the program and excited to see how the relationship continues to grow in the future.
Neither 247Sports nor Rivals have rated James yet, but On3 rates him as the 53th-ranked cornerback and the 56th-ranked recruit from Georgia.