Auburn coach Gus Malzahn announced at his weekly press conference Tuesday junior college transfer Paul James III is likely out the season with a knee injury.
Malzahn described it as “freak” thing that happened during a drill in practice last week.
“He was really doing a good job and improving,” Malzahn said.
James was one of Auburn’s early enrollees in the class of 2016 out of Copiah-Lincoln Community College where he was one of the NJCAA top pass rushers (14 sacks).
The junior had fought his way into the rotation at defensive end despite an ankle injury that forced him to miss the first half of spring practice.
“He gained a lot of weight and was in very poor condition for spring,” Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner said this fall. “There were times during spring ball I felt like he flashed and showed ability, but because of his conditioning I didn’t feel like we got a true gauge on him.”
The slow start motivated the Florida native coming into fall camp. He reported 10 to 15 pounds lighter and dedicated himself to learning the ins-and-outs of the playbook.
“I was thrown in the fire at the time,” James said. “Missing three weeks of practice really hurt me, but it also gave me that edge to get back and go hard.”
James had three tackles, all solo, with one for a loss and a pass breakup this season.