Senior running back Tracy James has been a Wildcat longer than most athletes, and he continues to plow over opponents in his final season in purple and white.
He joined the football team as a redshirt freshman in 2015 after graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas.
However, James’ passion and talent for football did not emerge until he entered the Lone Star State.
“My passion of football really began when I first moved to Texas,” James said. “I lived at first in Minnesota, so all we did was play basketball up there. Football is during winter, and winter up there is not good.”
James did not start playing football immediately, but it did not take him long to once he arrived.
“Once I moved down here, I started playing once the coach came up to me in my elementary school,” James said. “I told my mom I wanted to try out, and since then, it’s all history.”
While James could have played at another Div. I school, he chose ACU because he saw something special.
“Everything led up to going to ACU,” James said. “The team and players all had a different vibe to them that me and my mom liked.”
He’s also been able to experience the transition from playing at Shotwell Stadium to Wildcat Stadium on campus. James said there’s a lot to appreciate in his time here.
“My most cherished moments have been every second at ACU,” James said. “I’ve been through a lot through ACU with a different coaching staff, different head coaches. It was a lot to learn.”
Since joining the Wildcats, James has been a nightmare to opposing defenses, especially in his senior year.
In 2019, he’s rushed for 571 yards on 112 attempts with 13 total touchdowns, the second most in FCS this season. He’s also surpassed 3,000 all-purpose yards, but James wants to keep improving as the season progresses.
“All I’m going to do is keep working hard and try to be the hardest worker on the field,” James said. “We’re just going to take it day-by-day and see what happens.”
James is coming off his most rushing yards this season with 118 against Houston Baptist in their 45-20 win. He’s taken a larger role in the offense after senior running back Billy McCrary required season-ending surgery.
Head Coach Adam Dorrel has also been impressed with his season thus far, including his leadership.
“He’s doing a lot of really good things,” Dorrel said. “He’s a captain and a leader and taken a lot upon himself to try and get us going in the right direction. That means a bunch to us as coaches with his leadership at practices.”
With a strong resume that he’s built in college, Tracy’s path to the NFL is still certainly a possibility.
“If I get that call to go to the NFL, that would be something great,” James said. “It would show that people from small schools like Abilene Christian have talent. I just want to show people on my team and later on that they can do that.”
James and the Wildcats will look to stay undefeated at home Saturday when they take on Stephen F. Austin.