Name: James Officer
College: Olivet Nazarene
Tell us about your university/college. What was your major/minor? How is campus life?
I started my college career at Indiana State University, majoring in Construction Management. It was a place I fell in love with and attest to my development as a young adult. After a couple seasons there, I transferred to a school completely opposite of ISU, named Olivet Nazarene University. It is a small Christian school located about an hour from Chicago. During my time here, I have truly learned to focus and have developed some relationships that will last me a lifetime. I also switched my major to Criminal Justice when I transferred, to go along with my new goal of being a public servant in the future.
What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My teammates would say I work hard. Not just within the allotted times, but also when no one is watching. They would say that my commitment to football is unlike anything they have seen before. They would also say that I play aggressive.
What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I see myself adapting to whatever situation I am put in. From being a true freshman starter, to being a two-year All American, I have consistently strived to be the best I can be. I have been living with a “1% better every day” mindset, pushing myself and, in turn, pushing my teammates. I believe I fit in with the fast pace zone scheme that most teams use.
Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
I believe Xavier Williams, from Northern Iowa, is the best player I’ve ever played against during my college career.
Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
I have two teammates that have stood out to me throughout my career. There was a QB named Mike Perish at ISU during my freshman year. His attention to detail and will to win were inspiring. He also embodied a team-first spirit in a way I had never seen. The second teammate who impressed me was at ONU. Fullback, Jake Klinglesmith. Possibly the toughest kid I have ever played with. He played an entire spring and fall with a torn ACL, without missing a thing.
Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
Leaving ISU was a big struggle for me because I had experienced early success there. So to be in a position of having to find a new home, was somewhere I had never imagined myself being. My opportunity at Olivet came at the perfect moment. I was able to be surrounded by friends, and face my faith head on because it was a Christian school. When I got there, the struggles did not end because my habits did not change and I struggled to realize the opportunity at that moment. Through prayer, not just my own, I was able to stand on my own. I refocused, made a list of goals for my next two seasons and never looked back.
If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I grew up playing tennis. Travel, high intensity competitive tennis. I switched to football after I stopped growing vertically and started growing horizontally.
What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
Never giving up. Up until my moment at Indiana State, my life had been full of wins. My high school won 4 state titles in football while I was attending. I played for the USA team immediately following high school and won a gold medal. I went to ISU on a partial scholarship and by the third game I was a starter. Just constantly walking into situations and coming out on top. At my first real sign of adversity, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if I melted. I did not. I put my head down and just kept moving, and it’s been the most fulfilling experience of my life to date.
Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career?
During my sophomore year, we were playing South Dakota State University at their stadium. My QB, Matty Ice, drops back for a pass, but someone leaks through. He begins scramble drill and I come around for clean up duty. I hit the opposing player so hard the stadium legit said “ooohhh.” Matt continues to scramble untouched and through a 50+ yard touchdown. Amazing moment.
Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
My favorite athlete is Jason Kelce. He consistently gets to play side linebackers on outside zone plays from the center position. That is extreme talent and effort mixed.Then hearing him speak after the Super Bowl you could tell his love for the game was different. It just reaffirmed him being my favorite player. I strive to play with his level of passion and work daily to be as technically sound as all the technicians at my position.
Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
My favorite artist is J. Cole, but my pregame music usually is whatever gospel song was hitting that week. Usually some Mary Mary, but you can never go wrong with Kirk Franklin.
What is your favorite comfort food?
My Grandma’s Mac and Cheese. Baked to perfection.
Do you have a favorite movie or actor?
I like TV shows way more than movies. I’m a big fan of anything with dry humor.
What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?
I love listening to music, scrapbooking, believe it or not, and spending time with my loved ones. I also love to workout. It’s a must, but I truly love the feeling of beginning my day with a workout.
Who or what motivates you the most?
I know that I don’t want to have any regrets in life. So I go as hard as I can to eliminate all doubt. If I give everything my all, I know the end result will be something I can hang my hat on.