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5 DAYS TO 2023 KICKOFF: Justice James

In which BracketCat counts down the fifth day until the 2023 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State cornerback Justice James.

#25 Ekow Boye-Doe
Following the graduation of senior cornerbacks Ekow Boye-Doe (25) and Julius Brents, there are some holes to fill on the back side of the defense. JUCO cornerback Justice James, who redshirted and changed his name in 2022, could be one key piece toward helping to fill those holes in 2023.
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NOTE: Kansas State has elected to advance players’ classification even though the 2020 season did not affect eligibility. Those who wish to take advantage of this extra year will be listed as a (“super”) senior again after their original eligibility would have been exhausted.

Goal No. 5: BE TOUGH. Mentally and physically.

#5 Justice James

Redshirt Junior | 5-10 | 199 lbs. | West Columbia, Texas
Justice James
Justice James
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Cornerback
  • Previous College: Tyler (Texas) Junior College
  • Projection: Second-String
  • Status: On Scholarship

Justice James (b. April 25, 2002), who went by Justice Clemons last season, is a JUCO defensive back who transferred to K-State late in the 2021-22 recruiting process from Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, where he played with fellow defensive Wildcat Kobe Savage.

He redshirted and did not play during the 2022 Big 12 Championship season, but currently is projected by coaches to be in the top-four rotation at the two cornerback spots in 2023.

James played two seasons under head coach Thomas Rocco at Tyler, earning honorable mention all-conference honors as a sophomore. He totaled 51 tackles, two tackles for loss, three interceptions and eight passes defended over his two-year career for the Apaches.

James had 36 tackles as a sophomore in 2021, including a career-high nine at Trinity Valley to go along with a forced fumble. He also picked off two passes, including one he returned for a touchdown, against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.

In 2020, James had 15 tackles with a sack during his freshman season.

He prepped under head coach Randy Lynch at Sweeny (Texas) High School, where he was an all-district selection who recorded 56 tackles, three interceptions and five passes defended over his three-year prep career for the Bulldogs.

All three picks came during James’ junior campaign in 2018, a year in which he set a career high with 21 tackles. He also had three passes defended, a forced fumble and fumble recovery as a sophomore in 2017.

James starred on offense, as he was the district offensive Most Valuable Player, and he also competed in track and field in high school, finishing second in the state in long jump.

He selected K-State over offers from Central Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, Indiana State, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, Prairie View A&M, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin and Texas State. (James’ only scholarship offer coming out of high school as a wide receiver prospect came from Illinois State.)

His primary recruiter was K-State assistant head coach, passing game defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Van Malone, his new position coach. Said Malone of him recently:

Justice James has been really impressive. He’s really worked hard to understand where exactly he needs to be, and more than anything else, it’s been cool to watch him be right a whole lot of times. He’s really done a good job preparing himself.

James, who is majoring in sociology/criminology, is the cousin of two NFL defensive backs and University of Texas alumni, Quandre Diggs and Quentin Jammer.

You can read more about his journey to K-State in this paywalled news story here.