By Ashley Chambers Oakland native James Meeks Jr. will get the chance to live out his dream, taking the opportunity of a lifetime in the NFL Draft next month.
Towering at 6’5”, he will compete in the regional combine on March 23 with the Seattle Seahawks in Washington. A graduate of Central Washington University (CWU), the 25-year old has worked hard to get to where he wants to be, and in football that is what counts. Already in his career Meeks has seen both the good and the bad. He suffered two injuries during his years as an offensive lineman, tearing his patellar tendon in both knees. Still, he didn’t quit. “When I was in that state, I got mentally strong. I saw quickly how… the game could be taken away,” Meeks said. He kept his focus and became the first male in his family to receive a university degree when he graduated last spring. “I don’t know what quit means, so I just continued to do what I do and do it harder,” he said. After recovering from his second injury, he came back strong to play with the CWU Wildcats last season, ending his successful career as a college football player and ready to train for the Draft. Learning by example, Meeks says watching his parents work hard instilled in him the determination to never give up. His father retired from the Oakland Police Department last year, and his mother worked with Oakland Public Schools. “I never saw them take off work, or complain once. I realized there’s more than me. I took it upon myself, seeing their strengths, to push myself further,” he said. He has been in training for the past two months preparing for his big opportunity, depending on his determination and faith to help him get to this point. “I went through a lot of adversity. I went from the top to the bottom to the top again. My top right now is just living my dream, focusing myself on God,” he said. Running offensive lineman drills and showing his football intelligence at the combine this week, the college grad is going to give it his all. “Football has taught me a lot-to be on time, to help your brother or sister, and to always be honest. I use that every day. I’m always looking to help somebody, to be a better person, and have a positive impact on someone else’s life,” Meeks said.