It was bound to happen. Great players do it all the time. It's been a while since a great player has been at Oregon, so obviously some fans are new to this concept.
Now imagine if LeGarrette Blount had never decked Byron Hout. 2009 would look a little differently, don't you think? But, when a door slams shut, a window pops open. And through that window flew LaMichael James.
But his departure is not all bad news. Just like the LeGarrette Blount punch, there is a silver lining.
Some fans, not all, would say "Finally. Oregon won the big one!" I would just like to say that it took the Oregon Ducks two times to fail to finally get it right in the 2012 Rose Bowl. And what better way to go out than with another 150-yard rushing game in a BCS game?
After missing several games with injury, it was nice to see LaMichael James rebound in the latter part of the season.
After the USC debacle, LaMichael James rebounded with 520 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns, a PAC-12 title game MVP and a BCS victory in three games. A high note to everybody but an SEC team named Alabama.
And just imagine if he were to come back, only to have a season-ending injury.
One more tool for Chip Kelly to use when picking kids up to come play for the green and yellow...and white and black...and grey and whatever. But honestly, name five good, standout Oregon Ducks in the NFL right now.
Haloti Ngata is the only one to come to mind to be honest. LeGarrette Blount needs to stop getting injured to make an impact down in Tampa Bay.
But think about it; some kids don't even want to play college football. They just want to make straight cash, homie.
Well, that is a key selling point for coaches and recruiters, and Oregon is seriously lacking in pro talent in this day and age. If LaMichael James can become a good player quickly, he can assure that the Oregon Dynasty will live on.
Kenjon Barner will finally get his chance to get a full season in as a starter. After a long time playing second fiddle, Barner got the chance to start against Arizona State and Colorado.
He did well, although he played against subpar talent. It will be interesting to see how he does getting the rock 15-20 times a game consistently. Not to mention other running backs getting a bigger work load.
DeAnthony Thomas will get more time in the TZR role. Tra Carson will ease into a backup role, with others like Ayele Forde getting more time to show their talents.
This is an average occurrence with every other school. Heck, Miami (FL) is losing seven players to the NFL who could come back, and that was piss-poor team in 2011. When teams become good, talent rises, and players want to get paid...legally (maybe).
You can't ask a player who has graduated, started for three years, become one of the most legendary figures in your school's history, and won a BCS bowl game to just stick around.
LaMichael James is making the right decision by leaving early.
You don't wanna hear it. You don't wanna think about it. You cannot fathom the idea but it's true.
Several great running backs have left this program early and you do not want to see the one who helped start a dynasty go, but the Oregon Ducks will keep being the Oregon Ducks without LaMichael James.
The Oregon Ducks are not about one player. No one player is bigger than the team. That may sound like a Chipism, but it's true.
Kenjon filled in for LaMichael in the aforementioned Arizona State and Colorado games and outgained LaMichael in the USC game.
Just think about this; Peyton Manning left Tennessee after the 1998 season. It wasn't until 1999 that Tennessee won a National Championship, the year AFTER Peyton went pro and the Volunteers were led by a man named Tee Martin.