Safety Gemmell looking forward to the better competition in 2016

Gemmell looking at opportunities through football that can enhance his educational experience

James Gemmell






Carson Graham Eagles


University of Manitoba, Open

Official Visits:






Being exposed to football at a young age, James Gemmell got the urge to play football by watching the game on television. Once James was given the opportunity to play, he fully immersed himself in the sport by playing multiple positions to increase his football IQ and to find where he could excel at on the field.

Although Gemmell has played several positions through the years, it is free safety that Eagles’ player enjoys the most.

“When I play free safety, I have the ability to play that central, free-roaming position. I enjoy the ability to be able to go up against the run and the pass.”


Aside from play in the defensive secondary, James also takes snaps on the offensive end when he plays receiver. Playing positions so closely related to each other, Gemmell is able to use his knowledge of the positions to his advantage.

“I feel I have a great advantage both ways. When I play receiver, I already know the zone coverage a defensive back will try and play against me. Also, when I play defensive back, because I have knowledge of a receiver’s route tree, it helps that I can anticipate what my matchup may try and run against me on his route.”

Gemmell’s football IQ has helped him a great deal allowing him to adjust and anticipate what opponents may try to do. With his knowledge of the game, it is not only a benefit for himself, but Gemmell uses his awareness to make sure his teammates are able to succeed as well.

“In my opinion, the strongest aspect of my game is my football IQ and my leadership. I try to go out there and act like an extra coach on the field and use my knowledge to help my team.”


Gemmell got his initial football experience through playing in what is formally known as the Gordon Sturtridge Football League, which later became the North Shore Football League in North Vancouver. Once Gemmell entered high school, he started to attend Carson Graham Secondary where he continued his football endeavors.

Being extremely competitive, Gemmell wants to be successful in whatever venture he decides to take on. Knowing that he and his fellow Carson Graham Eagles would be a formidable team in 2015. Gemmell’s main goal was to have his team play for a provincial championship that was going to be played at BC Place, home of the Lions.

Having the opportunity to play and wins games in an arena that house professional football is moments that James cherishes. However, the one moment that really stood out for Gemmell in 2015, was the game he played in the semi-finals against G.W. Graham.

“The highlight of my 2015 was being able to seal the deal in a close game. With the game resting on the shoulders of the defense, I was able to intercept the game-clinching pass in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter.”


The game-winning interception Gemmell produced allowed the Eagles to move onto the AA Provincial Championship game and later capture the title. With the conclusion of the 2015 season, Gemmell was able to reflect on all the success and what allowed him and his teammates to play at such a high level. With much thought, the Eagles’ safety came to a conclusion that cohesion and chemistry are important factors to the success Carson Graham was able to garner this past season.

“After completing last season, I was able to learn about how having a team that was very close helped us be successful down the stretch.”

Next season, Carson Graham will be making the jump to AAA football and James is looking forward to the stiffer competition. However, Gemmell knows that if his team wants to be successful in 2016, a slow start must be avoided.

“Moving up to AAA means that we no longer have any easy games. The competition will be much more consistent than it was in AA, and if we want to be successful we can’t have a slow start to the season like we did last year.”

As a senior member of the team and knowing 2016 will be his last year of high school football, James is anticipating the added responsibilities he will have to carry. Gemmell will be playing on both sides of the ball frequently and Eagles’ safety understands that his team will depend on him a great deal if they are to be successful.

Aiming to make the transition from AA to AAA varsity football as smooth as possible, Gemmell has been busy preparing himself for the rigors of 2016. Gemmell makes sure he can maintain his toughness during the off-season by playing rugby and by working out. For Gemmell’s workout plan, it consists of being able to get faster, stronger and add weight.

The influence Gemmell’s parents have made in their son’s life has been an important factor in his growth and development. Their contributions are not lost on the Carson Graham student. Gemmell acknowledges that his parents have taught him value and benefits of working hard and preparing yourself in one’s daily life.

When analyzing the game of professional football players, James has become a big fan of Minnesota Vikings’ safety Harrison Smith. With Smith, Gemmell sees a lot of himself in the NFL star and he also noticed some intricacies in his game that he would like to emulate for when he takes the field.

“At my specific position, I think Harrison Smith of the Minnesota Vikings is the cream of the crop. While he is still young, he is a great leader and can do it all. Smith is also versatile, effectively playing the pass and the run.”

Anticipating the next stage in his life when it comes to education, Gemmell has developed an interest in possibly studying business or science once he attends university. Although Gemmell loves the game of football, he is adamant on making sure that education is his priority and that he can put forth strong and consistent efforts to his academics.

“I plan on choosing my school for next year based on my academic opportunities. Hopefully, there is an opportunity out there where I can both pursue football and school.”

At this moment, Gemmell has talked to a few schools including the University of Manitoba about school and football. However, focusing on school and Carson Graham football for the fall is at the top on his list and will adjust his priorities accordingly.

With school around the corner, James has taken the time to engage himself in various activities to keep him busy. Aside from training for football, Gemmell also dedicates his time to playing rugby, a sport that keeps him in shape and keeps his physical mentality sharp. Outside of athletics, Gemmell has enrolled in an international baccalaureate program to further his education.

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply