2015 athlete Tony James writing his ticket

There are few who once believed Tony James (Arlington, Texas/Bowie) would be an effective quarterback. There are now few who question him.

The undersized 2015 athlete, a slot receiver at the start of the season, took over the starting quarterback duties for Keaton Perry, who went down with a season-ending injury in the second game of the season. Since then, the 5-foot-8, 150-pound James has been beyond impressive. He’s undefeated as a starter and he’s thrown for 1,651 yards and 20 touchdowns with only six interceptions in roughly 8 ½ games. James also has rushed for 900 yards and 14 touchdowns.

James’ most recent big-game performance came Saturday in a 31-14 victory over El Paso (Texas) Franklin in the second round of the Texas Class 5A playoffs. Rather than using his arm, James used his speed (he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 at a TCU camp over the summer) to rush for 146 yards and three touchdowns and led Bowie to 399 total yards.

“I feel good knowing that everybody’s got my back,” James said. “I’ve got really good athletes to help me, so there’s not all the pressure on me. I don’t have to work so hard. I know what I can do. I just want to go out and show it.”

James’ budding status originally became a statewide phenomenon on Sept. 14, when he accounted for 287 total yards and five touchdowns -- two rushing -- in a 38-36 win over a Dallas Skyline team that was ranked in the top five nationally at the time. The Skyline game was his very first start.

“That first game, I was nervous. I’m a sophomore, I’m undersized and we were playing Skyline,” James said. “I just wanted to lead my team and execute. I wanted to go out and do the best I could, and we came out with the win.”

Now, James is focused less on being a sophomore and more on leading his team to a state championship. In recruiting James has picked up interest from Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, but there’s one school he’s hoping he can attract.

“Oregon, man -- Oregon,” James said. “That’s been my dream school since I was a little kid.”