2015 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – Brevard Public Schools unanimously approves the naming of the new Cocoa High Track after Space Coast Sports Hall of Famer James Folston Sr.
We are grateful and blessed for his tens of thousands of hours of volunteer service to our track and football programs,” said Cocoa High School spokesperson.
“He is the gold standard of ‘coming back to give back’ to his community.”
WATCH: James Folston only played one season of varsity football at Cocoa High School, but he had a feeling for years that he was destined to play after high school. Folston earned a scholarship to Northeast Louisiana University and then played five years with the Raiders (1994-1998) and two with the Arizona Cardinals (1999-2000).
JAMES FOLSTON – 2015 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
• Associated Press All-American
• ULM Hall of Fame Member
• Seven Year NFL Career
James Folston only played one season of varsity football at Cocoa High School, but he had a feeling for years that he was destined to play after high school.
“From ages 11-17, I would walk through my neighborhood and tell all my friends and associates that I was going to the League (NFL),” Folston said.
“They would look at me as if I fell and hit my head on a rock.
I studied their body language from afar and knew that most did not believe in me. I used those visuals as fuel to prove every person wrong that doubted my visions.
I knew less than 1 percent of the world had an opportunity to play in the National Football League. I would always ask myself before I went to bed, ‘Why not me?’”
Folston earned a scholarship to Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe) and quickly made his mark.
He began as a starting defensive end in his sophomore year and recorded 12 sacks. During his senior year, he got 15, and ended his collegiate career first on the school’s all-time sack list.
His list of collegiate honors is impressive: All-American by the Associated Press, the Walter Camp Foundation, the Football Gazette, and Pro Football Weekly; First Team All-Southland Conference; First Team All Louisiana; ULM Iron Man Award; East-West Shrine Game appearance; Hula Bowl appearance; and the ULM Athletics Hall of Fame.
Still, with his laser focus and burning desire to play at the next level in the NFL, he went to the 1994 NFL Combine with confidence and commitment that he would fulfill his dream.
“Receiving that phone call from Oakland Raiders Head Coach Art Shell during the second round of the 1994 NFL draft was a dream come true for me,” Folston said.
Folston played five years with the Raiders (1994-1998) and two with the Arizona Cardinals (1999-2000).
His best year was in 1997 when he played in 16 games for Oakland and recorded 18 tackles and nine assists. He also forced two fumbles, recovering one of them.
In his final season with Arizona in “the League,” he had 12 tackles.
“I would like to be remembered as a fierce competitor with great evaluation skills under pressure,” Folston said.
‘EACH ONE – TEACH ONE’
However, Folston knows there are still kids walking their neighborhoods dreaming of playing beyond high school and harkening back to his dream, he loves to encourage them.
“My favorite motto is ‘Each One – Teach One.’ There’s no need for a person who has had the opportunity to get a free college education and play at the highest level of football to be selfish and not share life experiences with kids and teenagers that think they have life all figured out.”
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, or to make a nomination, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS