As we move back inside the top 20 of our Top 60 countdown (I figured we could take a break from the 30s), we take a look at a player who came to UM with a lot of promise, but simply hasn't lived up to them because of injuries. That would be No. 18 on our list: Running back Javarris James. Baby J, now a senior, has one more shot to prove to the NFL he has star potential. But will he be able to prove it in a crowded backfield?And, more importantly, will he be able to stay healthy?
> What we heard about him on Signing Day '05: When Baby J was a senior at Immokalee there wasn't a newspaper, recruiting website or college football team that didn't have high expectations for him once he got to college. As the cousin of former two-time NFL rushing champion Edgerrin James, Baby J tore up high school opponents to the tune of 1,658 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior before an injury his senior year caused him to miss five games. Rivals.com had Javarris ranked 13th at his position nationally, Scout.com had him 35th and ESPN had him 21st. When UM nabbed him over USC, Florida, USF, Nebraska and Oklahoma it looked like UM had found its next star in the backfield.
> What he's done as a Cane: As a freshman, it looked like Baby J was headed for greatness. He was named a Rivals.com second-team Freshman All-American after carrying the ball 175 times for 802 yards, the second most ever by a Miami true freshman. His career since has been far less full of sparkle. Injuries and the emergence of Graig Cooper slowed him down as a sophomore. Last season, he missed four games and started just once, finishing with 286 yards on 68 carries to go with four touchdowns. This spring, he was out again with an injured wrist.
> What Eye On The U expects from him in '09: Nov. 3, 2007. Why is that date important? No, it is not because Timbaland and One Republic had the No. 1 song in the country (Apologize). It's the last time (and only time since his freshman year) James has managed to run for more than 100 yards in a game. The likelihood of it happening again before his UM career is over is doubtful at best. With Cooper healthy and freshman Mike James making a push for playing time, Baby J has a long way to go before proving he can be the man again. His speed (4.41) in the 40 (not far off from Cooper's 4.37) has improved. And his 315-pound bench (top among RBs) and 545-pound squat (third overall on the team behind Harland Gunn and Allan Bailey) show that physically he might be ready to break out. But until he proves he's fully healthy -- that he can take a lick and keep on ticking -- he'll just be among the many other highly touted recruits who came to UM and were not able to play up to their full potential.