Draft Scout Snapshot: A closer look at the 49ers' picks: Round 2/61 -- LaMichael James, RB, 5-8, 194, Oregon...Slippery undersized back will also be trained to return kicks. - The Sports Xchange
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Even for those who witnessed his blur-quick footwork and the where-the-heck-did-he-go elusiveness, there is much more to James than meets the eye.
He has internal toughness and self-reliance that may have been destined before he was born, which is when his father was killed, or during a youth where his mother was usually gone and he was raised by his grandmother until she died when he was a junior in high school.
Then what? Then he basically took care of himself those last two years at Liberty-Eylau High School in Texarkana, Texas.
By the end of a dazzling 2010 season at Oregon, when he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, people still did not know the full measure of this young man. Instead of declaring for the NFL draft, he returned to address unfinished business -- a degree in Sports Business to be exact, which he was granted in December 2011 along with Academic All American honors.
James also became Oregon's only two-time consensus All American football player as he led the nation with 150.42 yards rushing a game and ended his career with a school record 5,929 all-purpose yards. James, who finishes 40 yards in less than 4.45 seconds and can leap vertically 35 inches, has been compared to every successful small, quick, elusive back in NFL history, yet his size concerns NFL scouts.
That's understandable, but his toughness never should be in question.
Inside: Size will be a detriment between the tackles at the next level, but don't underestimate his toughness. Prefers to run north-south, though, feeling his way through traffic with quick cuts and nice vision. May be used in zone system, shows patience to wait for blocking on stretch plays, able to find and take advantage of cutback lanes. Gets skinny to find tight creases to rip through when around the goal line or needing to pick up the first down. Can avoid a penetrating lineman, jump-step to find an open lane and accelerate into the second level. Given the ball in crunch time due to his toughness and ball security. Lacks the strength to push the pile or break off NFL linebacker tackles inside.
Outside: Does not try to take every play outside, as you'd expect given his size and speed, but dangerous once on the sideline. Excellent speed and good vision in the open field, capable of breaking off large chunks of yardage, or score, even if safety gets a deep angle. Spins off a low tackle attempts in space and maintain his balance to continue on. Willing to cut inside for extra yards instead of heading to the sideline (but may need to do that more to avoid big hits from NFL defenders).
Breaking tackles: Generally better in avoiding tackles can breaking them against NFL-caliber talent. Willing to lower his shoulder in space to knock over an opponent and churns legs to drag tacklers when owning a head of steam, but comes down on first contact too often even when it is a glancing blow or lunging arm tackle. Flashes the ability to break a tackle in the backfield and reverse field for a big gain, but he will lose yardage a times and it's much tougher to accomplish that against NFL defenses.
Blocking: Does not shy away from contact in pass protection, and is a fairly effective cut blocker with good awareness of where the pressure is coming from. Offers help to tackles on the edge on designed rollouts. Lack of size will make it difficult for him to stand up to NFL linebackers (who will anticipate his cut blocks), though he will give nice effort when holding up blitzers coming up the middle. Flares out into the flat on most third downs.
Receiving: Not used extensively out of the backfield, but has flashes playmaking ability in the flat. Looks capable of adjusting to poor throws with heat coming his direction. Has speed to be a threat on wheel routes, though NFL defensive backs will win jump balls. Can sidestep the first man and accelerate, but is usually brought down quickly by strong arm tackles.
Intangibles: Quiet player who prefers to lead by example. Suspended for 2010 season opener after pleading guilty to misdemeanor harassment charge (four other charges were dropped) due to altercation with his girlfriend; sentenced to 10 days in jail (received electronic bracelet instead) and two years probation. Says he's learned and matured more from that incident than anything else in his life.
Became the first two-time consensus All-America in school history … Named to Walter Camp All-America team at running back for a second straight season … One of only two players to be named repeat members of the AFCA All-America team (all-purpose position in 2011) … One of four finalists for the Paul Hornung Award for the nation’s most versatile player … Second-team All-America by AP … Was one of three finalists for the 2011 Doak Walker Award, which goes to the nation’s top running back … Recipient of the team’s Duane J. Cargill Memorial Award as UO’s outstanding offensive impact player … All-Pac-12 first team running back … National leader in rushing yards per game at 150.42 and ranked second nationally in rushing yards at 1805 … Ranked second in the FBS in all-purpose yards per game (181.30) and eleventh in scoring average (10.0) … Eight games of 100-plus rushing yards and four of 200-plus … Finished career with 26 games of 100-plus and seven of 200-plus rushing yards - both UO records … Climbed to second in Pac-12 history and first at UO with 5,082 career rushing yards … Oregon’s career leader moved into second all-time in conference history with 53 career rushing touchdowns and 10th in scoring with 348 points … Tops the all-time FBS list for runs over 30 yards with 34 … Oregon’s career leader in all-purpose yards with 5,869.
Averaged a career-best 7.31 yards per carry in his final season … Rushed for 159 yards on 25 attempts and one touchdown in win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl … Set the Pac-12 Championship Game standard with 219 yards and three TDs on 25 carries in win over UCLA … Also had a pair of receptions for 24 yards vs. the Bruins … Carried 24 times for 142 yards and a score in win vs. Oregon State … Limited to 78 yards on 20 attempts, but did score a touchdown in loss vs. USC … Rushed for three touchdowns, including a 58-yarder, totaling 146 yards on 20 totes in win at No. 3 Stanford … Ran for 156 yards and a score on 25 carries in win at Washington … Returned from a two-game absence due to a dislocated elbow and rushed for 53 yards on 13 attempts in win vs. Washington State … Walter Camp national player of the week and Pac-12 player of the week (offense) after carrying 30 times for 239 yards and a touchdown in win vs. Cal … Became first conference player since USC’s Marcus Allen in 1981 and first FBS player since Tulane’s Matt Forte in 1987 to have three consecutive games of 200 or more yards rushing … Named Pac-12 player of the week (offense) and to the Paul Hornung Award weekly honor roll after rushing 23 times for a school record 288 yards (tied for 10th all-time in Pac-12) and two touchdowns in win at Arizona.
Had a school-best 363 all-purpose yards against the Wildcats, including a 51-yard punt return … Rushed just 12 times for 204 yards and three scores in win over Missouri State, including an Autzen Stadium record 90-yard TD run - the second-longest rush in UO history … Amassed 181 all-purpose yards with 67 rushing, 56 receiving and 58 on his lone punt return in win against Nevada, earning a spot on the Paul Hornung Award weekly honor roll … Had touchdowns rushing, receiving and punt returning vs. the Wolf Pack, becoming the first UO player to accomplish that feat in a single game … Ran for a touchdown and had a game-high 132 all-purpose yards in loss vs. No. 4 LSU, including a team-best 61 receiving yards … Led all running backs in the squat (465 pounds), bench press (295 pounds), electronic 20-yard (2.68 seconds), fly 30 (2.85 seconds) and electronic 40-yard (4.59 seconds) during winter conditioning … rushed for 78 yards on just three carries and accounted for the spring game’s lone touchdown, a 67-yard scamper, in the Green Team’s 16-0 victory.
Oregon’s first unanimous All-America, selected first team by the AP, AFCA, FWAA, Sporting News, WCFF, SI.com, ESPN.com and Scout.com … Recipient of the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back … Also garnered All-America acclaim from SI.com and Scout.com … Finalist for the Heisman Trophy finished third in the voting … One of three finalists for the 2010 Walter Camp Player of the Year award … One of just four conference players to earn both Pac-10 all-Academic and all-Pac-10 first-team honors … Also chosen first-team all-Pac-10 by Phil Steele, Scout.com and Rivals.com … Semifinalist for the 76th annual Maxwell Award, presented to the collegiate player of the year … National leader in rushing (144.2) and scoring average (12.0) while ranking seventh in all-purpose yards (168.4) … Led the NCAA in overall rushing yards with 1,731, which set a new Oregon single-season record … 24 touchdowns (21 rush/3 rec) established a UO season record … Fastest player to 1,000 rushing yards in a season (7 games) also became the fastest to 2,000 (16 games) and 3,000 (23 games) for a career in school history … Ranks second all-time at Oregon with 3,277 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns … Third on the Ducks’ career scoring chart with 228 points … Has surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark in 18 of 25 career games played … Had at least one rushing TD in all but two games … Four receptions for 39 yards and a career-high two receiving touchdowns in BCS National Championship Game vs. Auburn … Added 49 yards rushing on a season-low 13 carries against the Tigers … Game-high 134 yards on 28 carries with a pair of touchdowns in win at Oregon State … Game-high 126 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns, three receptions for 20 yards in win vs. Arizona … Team-high 91 yards on 29 carries in UO’s first road win at Cal since 2001 … Game-high 121 yards rushing and three scores in win vs. Washington … Ran for a game-high 239 yards and three touchdowns on a career-best 36 attempts in win at USC … Game-high 148 all-purpose yards - including 123 on 20 carries - ran for two scores in win vs. UCLA … Named midseason All-America by SI.com … Rushed 25 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and caught two passes for 87 yards, including his first career receiving score on an 84-yard grab in win at Washington State … Named Walter Camp national offensive player of the week, Pac-10 player of the week (offense) and national running back performer of the week by the College Football Performance Awards after establishing career highs with 257 rushing yards on 31 carries in win over Stanford … Matched career best with three touchdowns, including a career-long 76-yard score against the Cardinal … Held under 100 rushing yards (94) for only the fifth time in his career despite a then-career-high 28 carries, but scored Oregon’s first touchdown on a 40-yard run in the opening quarter … Eclipsed the 200-yard rushing barrier for the first time as a collegian with 227 yards vs. Portland State … Included were TD runs of 66 and 35 yards … Season debut at Tennessee resulted in 134 rushing yards and one touchdown … Included was collegiate-long 72-yard scoring effort, as well as 8.4-yard per carry average … Named to the watch lists for the Maxwell Award, annually awarded to the outstanding college football player in America, and Doak Walker Award, given to the top running back … Preseason first-team All-America according to Yahoo! Sports … Named to the preseason All-American second team by Rivals.com, Sporting News and NationalChamps.net … Preseason first-team All-Pac-10 choice by Rivals.com and Phil Steel Publications … Shares honors as team’s fastest running back, completing winter conditioning by clocking 4.69 in the electronic 40-yard dash … Despite limited workouts with school’s track team, scored 5th in the 2010 Pac-10 championships at 100 meters while posting a best of 10.52 in the semifinals … Also anchored 4x100 relay to 4th place.
Few players have ever made the impact in their initial campaign at Oregon as the Pac-10’s Offensive Freshman of the Year as evidenced by him becoming the school’s first freshman on record to earn the team’s Most Outstanding Player accolades ... The second-team all-conference choice and first-team Freshman All-American (CollegeFootballNews.com) ranked ninth in the country in rushing (118.9 avg.) as the nation’s third-leading freshman ... Also selected national Freshman Performer of the Year by the College Football Performance Awards ... The Ducks’ first freshman to ever eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in a single season (1,546 yds.) eclipsed the Pac-10 freshman rushing record with 166 yards in last regular-season outing vs. Oregon State ... Equalled school records by extending his string of consecutive 100-yard efforts to seven with his ninth game over the century mark on the season before he was held to 70 yards in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State ... Averaged 133.5 yards per game in 11 outings as a starter (1,468 yds), ranks second on school’s single-season rushing ledger ... Sandwiched a pair of three-touchdown rushing efforts in Nov. 14 appearance vs. Arizona State and Dec. 3 against the Beavers around the win at Arizona, where he was shutout of the end zone for only the second time in his first 10 games as a starter.
Parlayed four catches for 89 receiving yards against Stanford to go along with his 125 yards on the ground to tally a career-best 214 all-purpose yards ... Surpassed school’s single-game freshman school record for the third time with a season-high 183 yards rushing in win over USC ... Performance earned him Pac-10 offensive player-of-the-week accolades ... That occurred one week after amassing 154 yards at Washington ... Reached the end zone in eight of 13 appearances, including a season-high three times on two occasions and twice vs. Washington and Washington State ... Ran for 14 touchdowns - the third-highest one-year output in school history ... Accumulating spectacular runs to start his own highlight reel, broke off a collegiate-long 60-yard scoring effort at Stanford, a 56-yard run for a score in Seattle, 52 yards vs. Oregon State, a 49-yard run against UCLA that dug Oregon out of a hole at its own 1-yard line, as well as a 33-yard marvel vs. USC that left spectators and the Trojans’ defense speechless ... Had nine carries of 30 yards or more and four totes over 50 yards, while leading the nation with 21 carries in excess of 20 yards.
Made the most of his collegiate starting debut against Utah by rushing for more yards than any freshman in school history to be named team’s offensive player-of-the-game ... Ran for 152 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries against the Utes, in addition to picking up 23 yards in kickoff returns and 3 yards as a receiver ... Enjoyed his first multi-touchdown game of his career vs. Washington State ... Saw first extensive action as a collegian in the second game of the year vs. Purdue, carrying the football nine times for 56 yards ... Included were 42 yards on the ground on a 72-yard third-quarter scoring drive to give the Ducks a lead they would never relinquish ... Averaged 6.7 yards per carry, which ranked second in the Pac-10 ... Also tied for sixth in the league in all-purpose yards per game (135.2 avg.) and tied for 10th in scoring (6.5 avg.) ... Carried twice for a team-high 22 yards in season opener at Boise State.
Redshirt season ... Earned scout team player of the week honors (offense) for work prior to games at USC and Oregon State.
An all-state selection following his junior and senior seasons, the four-star prospect by Rivals.com was ranked 12th-best running back in the country as well as the 39th overall player in the state ... The PrepStar all-Midlands Region honoree tallied 53 touchdowns and better than eight yards per carry his final three years ... Rushed for 2,043 yards (8.9-yard avg.) and 26 touchdowns his senior season for the Leopards, including a city single-game record rushing performance of 322 yards ... The 2006 second-team 3A all-state selection and District 16-3A MVP tallied 19 TDs as a junior while adding 1,600 on the ground and another 500 yards in receptions for the state champions ... Won the 100 meters at the state track meet in 2006 with a time of 10.51.
Born LaMichael Keondrae James on October 22, 1989 in New Boston, Texas. Parent: Rosemary James. Family: One sister. High School (Coach): Texarkana Liberty-Eylau (Pat Brady) 2008. Major: Sports Business.
Draft Scout Player News
01/25/13 - RB LaMichael James (back) practiced fully on Thursday despite nursing his injury.
01/25/13 - RB LaMichael James (back) was a full participant in practice Friday and probable for the Super Bowl.
01/22/13 - RB LaMichael James' value continues to increase as the team runs more read-option plays with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback. He's averaged 6.9 yards an attempt on his eight playoff carries, including five for 34 yards against Atlanta.
01/20/13 - RB LaMichael James scored his first career touchdown on a 15-yard run against Atlanta.
01/18/13 - RB LaMichael James established himself as a premier kickoff return man during the end of the regular season, and opposing teams took notice. He averaged nearly 30 yards a return during the regular season, but took just one kickoff out of the end zone against Green Bay, for 23 yards.
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