I assumed Oregon running back LaMichael James would go pro, but it looks like the All-American running back is returning for his redshirt junior season.
James, a sophomore running back and the nation’s leading rusher this season, had repeatedly suggested he would forgo an early entry to the NFL draft. Thursday’s announcement made it official.
“I came to the University of Oregon to get a quality education as well as to play football, and feel I have yet to complete that goal,” he said in a statement.
What does this mean for the 2011 Heisman race? Well, it means we have a clear front runner now and that James is a sure bet to be tabbed as such by the media when next season rolls around. James finished third in this year’s race and, assuming runner-up Andrew Luck heads to the NFL (again with the assumptions), it naturally falls that James would be next in line, especially considering Oregon is a safe bet to once again contend for a national title.
Not that being the front runner or the preseason favorite means much anymore. The past few years have seen Heisman winners come from out of nowhere.
But it does give James a built-in advantage as it pertains to preseason hype and expectations.