BCS National Title: 10 Things You Don't Know About Oregon's LaMichael James

Joe PenkalaCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2010

BCS National Title: 10 Things You Don't Know About Oregon's LaMichael James

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    CORVALLIS, OR - DECEMBER 4: Running back LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks runs with the ball in the second quarter of the game against the the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Corvallis, Oregon. The Ducks beat the Beaver
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    With the BCS National Championship Game drawing closer, many people who may not have followed the Oregon Ducks throughout the year are taking a look at the team.

    When looking at the Oregon roster, LaMichael James is one player everyone in the nation should know about.

    James, a redshirt sophomore, has been on campus for three years now and has made a huge impact since cracking the lineup last year. While many people know about the flash and speed of James, here are 10 things you may not know about him.

James Did Not Want to Come to the West Coast

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    CORVALLIS, OR - DECEMBER 4: LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game at Reser Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Corvallis, Oregon. The Ducks beat the Beavers 37-20 to likely go on to the BCS Championshi
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    When LaMichael James was in high school back in Texas, Chip Kelly called and called him, but James was convinced that he did not want to go to a school on the West Coast.

    Through persistence, James was convinced to check out Oregon and never looked back. James loved the tempo and speed that Oregon played with and knew it would fit his skills.

Punched Into the Starting Job

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Running back LeGarrette Blount #9 of the Oregon Ducks walks on the field during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at the 96th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    In his second year on campus, LaMichael James was on the sidelines and the attention of the nation was on the big bruising back LeGarrette Blount.

    After Blount stunned the nation with one punch, James was thrust into the starting role and quickly made Duck fans forget about the graduation of Jeremiah Johnson or suspension of Blount.

Led the Nation in Rushing Despite Missing Opener

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    EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 04:  Running back Kenjon Barner #24 of the Oregon Ducks breaks loose for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the New Mexico Lobos at Autzen Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. Barner had 225 total yards
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    When reflecting on the stats that James put up this year, one thing that is overlooked is the fact that James actually missed the Ducks' season opener due to suspension.

    In the opener, Oregon won 72-0 and Kenjon Barner, who filled in for James, had a field day, scoring five touchdowns. Imagine the numbers James could have added to his total had he played in that game.

Failed to Hit 100 Yards Only Five Times in Two Years

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks carries the ball against Nate Fellner #29 of the Washington Huskies on October 24, 2009 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Ducks defeated the Huskies 43-19. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    So far, James has started 24 games in his career. In those games, James has only failed to hit the century mark five times.

    Since jumping into the starting role, James has provided balance and explosive speed to the Ducks offense. Defenses continue to load up against the run and James continues to find a way to repeatedly move the chains.

James Has Only 26 Career Receptions

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    EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 26:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks runs for a touchdown run against the Arizona Wildcats on November 26, 2010 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    For all the highlights that James has provided sports shows, the one thing that may cause him to come back to school for his junior year will be to work on his receiving skills.

    Chip Kelly knows the strength of his back is his running ability and he continues to put him in good positions. If James improved his receiving skills and the Ducks implemented it into their game plan, things could get even more dangerous for the Ducks.

Touchdown Machine

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    EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 26:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates a touchdown run against the Arizona Wildcats on November 26, 2010 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Much like his ability to gain over 100 yards rushing, James has a nose for the end zone. In the games that he has started, James has failed to get into the end zone only five times. He also has scored two touchdowns or more in 12 games over his career.

All-American

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    EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 12:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks runs the ball against Joe Holland #30 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Autzen Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    After an incredible year, James achieved a goal that made Oregon program history. While James did not bring home the school's first Heisman, he did achieve another first. This year, James became Oregon's first unanimous first-team All-American.

    Should James return in 2011, he would likely repeat this feat.

Pac-10 Record Breaker

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    BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks warms up before their game against the California Golden Bears  at California Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Throughout the years, a lot of great backs have gone through the Pac-10. In his first two years, James has been so impressive that he not only broke the freshman rushing record, but he also broke the sophomore rushing record.

    Should James come back for another year, he will likely become the school's all-time leading rusher and will continue to eye conference and national records.

On and Off the Field

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    NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11:  LaMichael James of the University of Oregon Ducks speaks during a press conference for Heisman Trophy candidates at The New York Marriott Marquis on December 11, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Not only is James excelling on the field, but he has also found his stride off it. James has made it clear that one goal he has while in school is to be an Academic All-American. This year, James was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic team.

    Like many other goals, achieving this on a national level could happen should he return to school.

NFL Ready

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    NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09:  The NFL shield logo at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Averaging over 25 carries a game, James showed this year that he can carry the load week in and week out. While James is a smaller back, this year he has been able to showcase both his speed and ability to run between the tackles.

    Should James leave for the NFL, he is currently projected as a late-first round or early-second round pick.