James was a 3 year letterman and 3 year starter at running back for the Demons from 1974-76, and as captain of the 1976 team, led the Demons to the state and national championship. As a RB, he gained over 4700 yards and averged 9 yards per carry throughout his high school career. After graduation, he attended and played four years for Auburn University, earning All American honors while playing there. He is still Auburns all time leader in all purpose yards with over 5600 yards. After graduating from Auburn, he played in the National Football League for 11 seasons, mostly with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he played in Super Bowl XXIII. He ended his career in 1992 with 14,910 total net yards which is 29th on the all time NFL list.