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Seeing the field in all 12 games during his true freshman season, Florida linebacker Shemar James has quickly made his name known for the Gators. Making 3 starts during the season, Shemar collected 40 tackles and 2 sacks over the course of the year. As he cements his name into Florida’s future plans and looks to take on an even bigger role moving forward, Shemar says that he hopes his impact happens both on and off the field. Guided by faith, Shemar says he looks to make a difference every chance that he gets.

Photo provided by Shemar James
While faith is an important part of life now for Shemar, it was not always that way. In fact, Shemar says that it wasn’t until he was in high school that he saw faith begin to take over who he was and is today. Shemar says his time at a certain school was pivotal in his development both on and off the field. “I met Jesus when I first came to Faith academy in my 9th grade year. I was saved my 10th grade year at school.” It was at Faith Academy where Shemar also became a 5 star recruit and one of the top linebackers in his class. Choosing Florida over the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, and more, Shemar looks to continue to make an impact during his time in Gainesville.

Each week as Shemar prepares for the upcoming opponent, he says his faith is what plays a key role for him.

“I thank God for putting me in this position that some people can only dream of. I believe football plays a huge part in my faith as well. Listening to a few church songs during the week before game day and even turning on some while walking the field. Praying with the guys before every game.”

Shemar says that making habits like these a focal point has allowed for him to stay focused on what matters most and prioritize using the gifts God has given him to inspire and better those that are around him.

Photo Courtesy of Florida Athletics
While Shemar has made a name for himself on the field throughout his freshman season, the life of a collegiate athlete still comes with its own trials each year. Shemar says that he makes sure to treasure every part of the journey, however, and rejoices in knowing that God is in control regardless of the circumstances.

“It helps a lot knowing that you have a God that expresses unconditional love for you, 24/7.”

Shemar says that knowing this and keeping his identity in faith has allowed him to stay grounded and grateful in all circumstances.

While the regular season has come to an end, the Gators now prepare for an upcoming bowl game and the chance to play one last time. While Shemar will have plenty of games to come at the collegiate level, he says that he treasures each and every one. Shemar says that he hopes every game is an opportunity to point others to God. With a heart of humility and care, Shemar will be making an impact both on and off the football field for many seasons to come.


Ethan Kruse

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