Written by Shelly Poe
James Jett came to WVU on a football scholarship and left not only as a four-year starter at wide receiver but as a seven-time track All-American and Olympic gold medalist. The native of Shenandoah Junction in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle finished fifth at 100 meters in the U.S. Olympic Trials in New Orleans, earning him a spot on the 4x100 Olympic relay team.
Back to Hall Of Fame
Jett ran the first two rounds of that race in Barcelona, then gave his spot in the finals to Carl Lewis; all team members earned a gold medal. The West Virginia state track athlete of the year in 1990, 1991 and 1992, Jett earned NCAA indoor and outdoor All-America honors at 50, 100 and 200 meters during his career and finished as NCAA runner-up at 100 and 200 meters in 1992.
The only true freshman to play on WVU’s 1989 Gator Bowl team, Jett over his four-year football career totaled 11 touchdown catches and 1,384 receiving yards, ranking him eighth among WVU career leaders at that time. His 78-yard TD catch from Darren Studstill in his last game against Louisiana Tech in 1992 set a then-stadium record. Also a return man, Jett finished with 3,076 career all-purpose yards, then fifth best in WVU history. He played in the Japan Bowl all-star game.
Signed as a free agent by the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, he has been a member of that team since 1993, playing in 140 professional games. His career totals include 256 catches, 4,417 yards (17.3 avg) and 30 scores; he is the eighth leading receiver in Raider history. Jett led the AFC with 12 touchdowns in 1997 and his longest career catch was an 84-yard touchdown vs. Atlanta in 2000. In 1996, he won the NFL Fastest Man competition and was a finalist in 1997.
Jett has two children, James Jr. and Jordan.