Name: James Sims, Jr.
Claim to fame: Two fumbles inside the 4 yard line in a 2004 loss to Oregon State
Was he any good?
Actually, yeah, he was.
As student body president and 4.0 student at Valley High School in Las Vegas, Sims racked up 14 tackles for loss, two interceptions and four fumble recoveries at strong safety and rushed for 1,756 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He started five games at safety in a stingy 2002 Husky defensive backfield as a redshirt freshman and appeared in all 12 games there the following season. Then, in 2004, he was asked to transition to fullback. The next year, he played mostly tailback, spelling Louis Rankin after the graduation of Kenny James and the abrupt departure of Shelton Sampson.
In the Huskies’ pivotal 2005 win over Arizona, Sims became the 11th Husky running back to rush for 200 yards in a game (Chris Polk has since become the 12th, and Marques Tuiasosopo isn’t a running back). He was the team’s second-leading rusher that year, but unfortunately, one really, really bad game in 2004 had already tarnished his reputation for many Husky fans.
On October 16, 2004, Oregon State won at Husky Stadium for the first time in 19 years and Sims had a lot to do with it. After Isaiah Stanback’s first career passing touchdown put the Huskies ahead 7-6, Tim Galloway blocked an Oregon State punt, which led to a second-and-goal from the Beavers’ 3 yard line, on which Sims promptly fumbled. After halftime, Michael Braunstein hit a field goal to cut an Oregon State lead to 23-17 but the Beavers were offsides on the play, giving the Huskies first-and-goal at the 4, whereupon Sims carried inside the 1 and… coughed it up a second time. The Huskies lost 29-14 but not before coming up empty after a fourth-quarter first-and-goal from the Beavers 3.
Though Sims actually had a decent and certainly admirable career, “James Sims Jr.” still conjures all-too-lurid memories of anguish from that misty afternoon.
Anything else to know?
In addition to a bunch of individual academic awards, Sims was named Pac-10 All-Academic in 2004 and was second-team All-Academic in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
He is also sixth in school history (behind, among others, former safety Tony Parrish) in the triple jump.
Sims signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2006, getting 33 preseason carries and appearing in two regular-season games.