The off-season of college football is usually marked by blockbuster players declaring early for the NFL draft, and more recently, superstar third-year players declaring they will stick around for another year of school. Oregon running back LaMichael James announced today that he will not forgo his remaining college eligibility and enter the 2011 NFL draft. From ESPN's Joe Schad:
Oregon RB LaMichael James announced he will bypass NFL draft and return
James is the most significant player thus far to announce that he will remain in school. With Auburn's Cam Newton and Stanford's Andrew Luck both likely first round draft picks if they declare, James will have the inside track for the 2011 Heisman Trophy.
James is a third-year sophomore with two more years of eligibility for Chip Kelly's Ducks. Had he decided to declare after this season, he was likely to have been picked midway through the second round, according to SB Nation's Mocking the Draft. By sticking around another year, James will have an opportunity to add to his already formidable college career statistics of over 3000 yards and 35 touchdowns. If his production improves in 2011, he could easily be a high first-round draft pick.