James isn't the biggest guy, at only 215, but man can this dude lay the wood. He has phenomenal quickness and reaction time. He defends the run very well and has great instincts along with the fact that he has great cover skills and is such a physical defender. James doesn't shy away from contact and has great discipline when it comes to gap responsibility. He can get after the passer whether it's blitzing up the middle or coming off the edge as a type of speed rusher. The only real knock on him, in my opinion, would be his weight at around 215 lbs. He could definitely use some bulking up in the weight room, which I can definitely see happening now that he's on campus. Also, he's quick but it doesn't have great top speed. This can hurt him at times in coverage.
Here are the basic stats on Ross:
Ok so James is listed at 6'1" and right around 215 pounds. They're all in agreement in that he's a 4-star across the board and with the exception of Rivals, he's a Top-10 LB in the country. He's versatile as he's scouted at both inside and outside linebacker. From what I've seen, they say he doesn't have a lot of upside because he's so polished right now. He has great productivity and they believe he will continue to do so at the college level. He's not the biggest guy, but is quick and is a great hitter. He's got amazing technique as well as football knowledge, which helps him to make all the plays that he does. He has all the tools to be an All-American and especially one of the top in the conference once it's all said and done. He can play inside and outside so he will be able to get used in a variety of ways. Expect big things from him.
If you have listened to any of the press conferences from Coach Hoke or Coach Mattison, James has been one of the freshmen mentioned as having a great camp and he could definitely see some playing time. Michigan is set at Linebacker, but I believe James along with his counterpart Joe Bolden, could definitely see some time as early as the Alabama game. James is the type of guy that has the potential to be a 4-year starter depending on how things go but I've seen that he's putting in a lot of work and has impressed the coaching staff in the off-season leading up to the start of the season.
His ceiling is through the roof because he's such a great player right now and he can definitely make an impact as soon as he steps onto the field. A lot of time freshmen struggle because they don't quite understand the college game just yet, but James has a great football IQ and knowledge of the linebacker position so if he gets on the field and I believe that he will look for him to make plays instantly. He can make all the plays that you want made at Linebacker and James can wreak havoc on an offense.
Here's his highlight video: