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Josh Sims
Former Eastside standout Josh Sims is angling for a big jump in playing time for NCAA Division I FCS powerhouse James Madison. -Submitted Photo

Not only do we want to focus on highlighting our middle school and high school football talent, we also want to take the time to spotlight our Newton County Schools graduates who are excelling at the collegiate level. This spotlight takes us inside the mind of former Eastside Eagles standout Josh Sims. 

Sims is entering his sophomore season with NCAA Division I  FCS powerhouse James Madison, and is looking to enjoy a much larger role than his freshman campaign where he caught 15 for 103 yards for a Dukes squad that finished the 2018 season with a 9-4 record. 

Our Matthew Grimes caught up with Sims before the grind of a new season started to chat with him about his prospects for year two in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 

Matthew Grimes: So last year I know you were able to contribute a decent bit. What was your role last year, and now that you’ve had some time to think about it, what are your thoughts on last season? 

Josh Sims: “Last year I started the season out as our starting slot receiver, and it was one of the best feelings having my first college start against NC State and on TV. Thinking back on last year, I noticed how much I grew as a football player and also as a young man and there isn't anything I would change.” 

MG: What were some of the ways you grew as both a football player and man? 

JS: “As a football player, I think adjusting to the speed of the game is one of the biggest things. Once you make that adjustment your mind can slow down and you can actually think about what's going on. That allowed me to be myself and do what I knew how to do at a high level. So I believe I grew mentally stronger from football last season. For how I grew as a young man, I suffered a concussion halfway through the season and my playing time after that slowed down a lot. That hurt a good bit. But football is just like life. It's not about the things that happen to you, but how you respond. So that taught me to have a different perspective about life itself and that no matter what happens, you have to keep pushing forward. You can never let one bump in the road stop you from the success you're striving for.”

MG: Good stuff man. How has the offseason been? What kind of stuff have you been focusing on during the summer? 

JS: “The offseason has been good! Started off by getting an entirely new staff, but the transition was very smooth. Some of the things I worked on this offseason were my route running and defense recognition. When you know what kind of defense your opponent is playing, you know where the holes are and things of that nature, and it allows you to play faster.”

MG: I know you’re ready to get this season started, so what is your outlook on the year and maybe some personal goals? 

JS: “After going through what I did last season with my concussion, I think my main goal is to just have fun and take in every moment. Playing at JMU is a blessing but it won't last forever, so I want to make the most of it.”