PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Running back LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks reacts in the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LaMichael James will forgo his senior season with Oregon to enter the 2012 NFL Draft, according to sources. He was a Heisman finalist during the 2010-11 season.
LaMichael James will forgo his senior season and enter the 2012 NFL Draft, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. The news does not come as an enormous shock considering the monster numbers that James has put up over his last three seasons with the Oregon Ducks. He finishes his college career with over 5,000 career rushing yards and 52 touchdowns. Perhaps more more importantly, he helped lead the Ducks to their first Rose Bowl win in 95 years this past Monday.
James certainly has NFL-caliber speed and quickness, though at 5-9, 185 pounds he may not have the size to be an every-down back in a pro offense. Durability is especially a concern considering he sat out two games this past season with a dislocated elbow. Still, with change-of-pace backs like Darren Sproles relatively en vogue, James could become a stalwart.
The Ducks will look to De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner to carry the load in Chip Kelly's spread option offense starting next season. The future is especially bright for Thomas, who had 155 yards for two touchdowns on just two carries in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin.