BUFFALO, NY – James Starks, UB's all-time leading rusher, got the chance to continue his football career on Saturday afternoon as Starks was drafted in the sixth round by the Green Bay Packers. Starks becomes the first ever UB tailback to be drafted in the NFL.
"I'm just grateful for this opportunity and I'm going to make the most of it," said Starks. "I didn't even play a year and God blessed me with an opportunity to do something I love, I'm very grateful for it."
Starks, who missed all of his senior season due to a shoulder injury, is the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,140 yards and 34 rushing touchdowns. He has scored the most points (222) of any player in UB's history and ranks fifth in all-purpose yardage with 3,830 yards. Starks had been named to the pre-season watch list for the Doak Walker Memorial trophy, given to the nation's top running back.
"They said they liked my film and they were proud to make me a Green Bay Packer. I said 'Coach I'll be ready, I'm ready to come out there and work and I'll make sure you made the right choice,' " Starks added.
Starks was invited to the NFL Combine this past February becoming the fourth straight UB football player to have the chance to show his talents in front of all 32 NFL Teams. Starks also becomes the third player drafted in the last three years as Trevor Scott was a sixth round selection of the Oakland Raiders and Jamey Richard was selected in the seventh round by the Indianapolis Colts in 2008. Drew Willy is also currently on an NFL roster as he is a quarterback with the Colts. For Starks it will be the first time that he has played organized football outside of the Western New York area as he was a local standout at Niagara Falls High School before coming to UB.
"Aw man, there are a lot of good memories, a few sad ones, but mostly good," said Starks of his time in the Blue and White. "The community is great, the fans were great, even when I went through bad things the students loved me...man this is my home. It's hard to even explain all the great memories that UB brought me: teachers, students, coaches...just something I'll miss and I'll cherish for the rest of my life."