Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- McKinley's Daniel James, who recently played in the U.S. Army Red Stick Bowl, has committed to Yale.

Some football players look for a sign that points them in the direction of the right college.

McKinley defensive lineman Daniel James found several during his fall visit to Yale and has now committed to the Ivy League school.

“You know it’s an academic school when you go there,” James said of Yale. “But when I got to campus there were flags about every football game. That was one of the first things I saw. I didn’t expect that, and I liked that.

“I liked the football players and the students. I got to sit in on classes while I was there and talk to students. They didn’t know who I was or that I was there about football. All of them said positive things and that meant a lot.”

The commitment ends James’ recruiting journey that began last summer when he received scholarship offers from every Ivy League college. The 6-foot-2, 280-pound James ended up with 22 scholarship offers, including two from Louisiana schools, McNeese and Nicholls State.

“It couldn’t happen for a nicer kid,” McKinley coach Robert Signater said. “We’re happy for Daniel.”

In addition to visiting Yale, James said he also took official visits to Princeton and Navy. The fact coach Tony Reno has reversed Yale’s record from 2-8 to 8-2 in just three seasons also was a factor James, who finished with more than 60 tackles and earned All-District 5-5A honors last fall. He also played on the offensive line for the Panthers.

“I really like coach Reno and the leadership approach he has. He wants his players to be leaders, and that’s something I aspire to.”

James plans a pre-med major with plans to become an orthopaedic surgeon one day.

Dotson, Adams to Nicholls

Plaquemine lineman Kenny Dotson committed to Nicholls State on Thursday, joining the growing list of commitments for new coach Tim Rebowe.

“I know they didn’t do well last year, but I know they’ve got a new coach who is going to make changes,” Dotson said. “I like the fact that they want me to play defensive line. And I like the school, I’ve visited there before.”

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Dotson and Northeast High defensive back/receiver Darryl Adams are the latest Nicholls commitments, joining Dutchtown offensive lineman Hunter Austin and Woodlawn quarterback Charles Brooks.

Adams (6-3, 190), who missed much of the season with a broken leg, returned to the lineup during the Vikings’ push to the Class 2A semifinals.

Dotson’s twin brother, Kevin, committed to Louisiana-Lafayette early in the fall.

Walker visiting Penn

James isn’t the only local player on the radar of an Ivy League school.

The Dunham School quarterback Jyron Walker is scheduled to visit Penn this weekend and will miss the Tigers’ Friday basketball game with Northeast, said Dunham basketball coach Jonathan Pixley.

Walker helped Dunham to the Class 2A playoffs and passed for over 1,000 yards the last two seasons.