Despite loads of speculation that he would turn pro after the BCS Championship game, draft-eligible sophomore LaMichael James says he will return to the University of Oregon next year.
“I came to the University of Oregon to get a quality education as well as to play football, and I feel I have yet to complete that goal.”
Well, with getting a quality education you’ve either completed that goal or you haven’t, there’s really no “feel” about it. The fact that he doesn’t know that yet means he’d probably be better served returning to school, yeah?
James is currently No. 3 on Mel Kiper’s list of the top non-senior running backs and Scouts Inc. has him rated as the sixth-best running back prospect in college football.
This season James rushed for 1,682 yards and 21 touchdowns, while catching 13 passes for 169 yards and a score. Last year, as a redshirt freshman James rushed for 1,546 yards and 14 touchdowns, while catching 17 passes for 168 yards.
If he does indeed return for his junior season, James would instantly be a favorite in the Heisman Trophy race (he finished third this year). And if he can duplicate his production next year, he’s likely to race up draft boards.
That, of course, is assuming he doesn’t beat the crap out of his girlfriend again. Or try to strangle her. Yeah that would be bad. Because, I mean, the NFL will seemingly forgive anyone for anything once, but do it twice and the league might shake a finger at you.