Saturday, November 3rd, on a cold day in West Lafayette, IN, with thousands - literally, a few thousand Purdue fans - watching from the stands, Jordan Hill was helped off the field with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. James Terry jogged onto the field, shaded the Purdue guard's outside shoulder, penetrated the backfield immediately at the snap, chased the ball carrier down the line, and recorded another tackle for loss. Then, without any fanfare or histrionics, he got up and went back to his defensive huddle.
He made the next two or three tackles in a row - or maybe it just felt that way. But in those 10 minutes, the 2 million of us watching at home witnessed Penn State's James Terry not at his best; not at a 'greatest moment', but simply, James as he'd always been. Always ready. Always productive. Always reliable.
James Terry verbally committed to the Nittany Lions in late July, 2007, and the recruiting world collectively wrote "huh?" James was a two-star prospect from Brandywine Heights, DE. Maybe the interwebs didn't work as well back in 2007, but the 6' 3", 310 lb defensive tackle prospect had gone largely unnoticed - except by Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden, his principle recruiters.
He arrived at Penn State as part of the 2008 signing class, and redshirted that first season while bouncing between the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. He bounced some more in 2009 before settling at defensive tackle, and recording his first career sack, against Temple.
With Defensive Player of the Year Jared Odrick off to the NFL, James played in 12 of 13 games in 2010, including his first career start against Indiana at FedEx Field. The experience helped, and James doubled his playing time and production in 2011 while rotating in with another Defensive POY, Devon Still. He capped his Penn State career with his best season, in 2012.
James graduated in August, another true student-athlete. He also spent the past summer on an internship with the State College Youth Services Bureau, paving the way toward success after his football playing career ends. Thank you, James. You made Penn Staters proud.
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