July 21, 2014
HOUSTON - Following three solid seasons as LSU's kickoff specialist, James Hairston joins the Rice University football squad for his final year of eligibility.
The Dallas native averaged 63.3 yards per kickoff for the Tigers from 2011-13, including 88 touchbacks on 235 kickoffs. In 2013, he posted a career-best 45 touchbacks and converted all four extra point attempts.
In 2012, Hairston helped LSU to fourth in its conference in kickoff coverage with an average of 61.3 yards per kickoff. He kicked 27 touchbacks while handling all 79 of LSU's kickoffs on the year. As a freshman in 2011, he saw action in 11 games with 16 touchbacks on 70 kickoffs. That season he posted a career-best 65.7 yards per kickoff and was named to the SEC Coaches' All-Freshman team.
Hairston earned MVP honors as a punter and kicker at Jesuit College Prep after knocking through 11-of-16 field goals and 31-of-33 extra points as a senior. He also averaged 64.2 yards per kickoff that season while also booting 22 punts for an average of 44.8 yards. As a junior, he connected on all six field goal attempts.
The Hairston family has deep ties to Rice Athletics, as his grandfather, Don Wilson, was a three-year letterman in football (1953-55) and played on the '54 Cotton Bowl squad that defeated Alabama. He also lettered once in track (1954). James' uncle, Mike Wilson, lettered three times as a deep snapper in football (1993-95) and four times in baseball (1992-95) for the Owls. Both of his parents played collegiate golf at SMU and Hairston's sisters played soccer in college.
Hairston graduated from LSU with a degree in Finance in May.