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Tag:LaMichael James
Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:16 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 3:22 pm
 

James, Rainey run 4.45 40s - officially

Florida running back Chris Rainey, who confidently said he expected to run a 4.1-second 40-yard dash and "definitely" would break the Combine record, posted an unofficial 4.37 on his first attempt Sunday. That equaled Oregon's LaMichael James for the fastest times among the running backs so far. (40-yard dash results)

Miami's Lamar Miller is being credited with a 4.38 and Virginia Tech's David Wilson, both expected to be second-round picks, ran an unofficial 4.40. 

The vast majority of the unofficial times have been around a tenth of a second faster than the "official" time released later by NFL.com through National Football Scouting.

As we've noted during the event, NFLDraftScout.com data shows Trindon Holiday's 4.21 in 2010 as the fastest Combine time since 2000.  

UPDATE: Miller was able leapfrog to the head of the running back class when the "official" 40 times were posted by NFL.com, being credited with a 4.40, while Rainey and James were dinged .07 from their unofficial handheld times down to 4.45. San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman was also credited with an official 4.45 after having a first clocking of 4.41.
 

Posted on: January 14, 2012 10:22 pm
 

Darron Thomas stuns Ducks, leaving early for NFL

If the Oregon Ducks are going to successfully defend their Pac-12 crown next season they'll be doing so with a new starting backfield.

It had been expected that head coach Chip Kelly would lose LaMichael James to the NFL after this season. But Saturday night, junior quarterback Darron Thomas stunned the program with the decision to also forgo his final season of eligibility and head off to the pros.

Thomas, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 12 rated quarterback in the 2013 class, may be making a terrible decision.

The 6-3, 215 pound Thomas has put up impressive statistics in Kelly's offense. Last season he completed 62% of his passes for 2,761 yards and a sparkling touchdown to interception ratio of 33-7. Considering that Thomas also ran for 206 yards and three scores, he was among the most effective all-purpose quarterbacks in the country and played a critical role in Oregon's run to the Rose Bowl championship and No. 4 ranking. He also boasts one of the more impressive career accomplishments any college quarterback can hope to have -- having thrown for at least one touchdown in every one of his career starts (27). In 31 games over his career Thomas passed for 5,910 yards, 66 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions.

That said, Thomas on tape doesn't necessarily match his hype.

Thomas' prodution is inflated due to Oregon's aggressive scheme and explosive athletes. He averaged 8.14 yards gained each time he even attempted a pass in 2011. He flashes good touch down the seams and enough zip to complete crossing routes over the middle, he isn't the elite passer his statistics would suggest. Too many of his passes forced receivers to adjust their routes, limiting opportunities for even bigger plays. Furthermore, he did not show much improvement in his second season as a starter despite playing in a relatively simple offense.

Kelly offered a luke warm opinion on Thomas' decision.
“As in all cases, we educate our players with the information we feel will be beneficial to them throughout the process but ultimately, the decision is left up to the players,” Kelly said. “I will always support Darron in his decision and want to thank him for everything he has done for this program. He obviously has played a major role in elevating Oregon football to new heights and I wish him well in the future.”

Thomas has talent but is viewed by scouts as a significant project. That fact could push him into late portions of the draft (or worse), especially considering that he comes with off-field baggage. Remember, Thomas was the passenger with former Duck cornerback Cliff Harris on the night Harris was pulled over for speeding in a car rented by a Oregon employee. Harris was clocked at 118 miles per hour, was driving without a license and admitted to police he had been smoking marijuana. Thomas' reaction to questions from the media regarding his role in the incident falls a bit short of inspirational. 

Thomas is the second Pac-12 quarterback to attempt to fill the vacancy left when Matt Barkley made his decision to return Southern Cal. He joins Andrew Luck and Arizona State's Brock Osweiler as early entries from the conference.
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:51 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 7:56 pm
 

Oregon's LaMichael James off to the NFL

And then there was one.

With Oregon's LaMichael James confirming Friday that he's forgoing his final year of eligibility, only Alabama's Trent Richardson remains among elite running backs yet to declare their intentions for the 2012 NFL Draft.

James followed Virginia Tech's David Wilson and Temple's Bernard Pierce in announcing Friday that they intend to enter this year's draft.

"My experience at the University of Oregon has been one unlike any other, and one I will never forget," James said. "I am grateful for the people I have met, the things I have learned, and the amazing community I have had the privilege of being a part of over the last three-and-a-half years."

James rushed for 1,805 yards and scored 18 touchdowns this season, and concluded his college career with 159 yards in Oregon's 45-38 victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.

The question with James will be his 5-foot-9, 185-pound frame and what role teams believe he can play in the NFL. He's sixth among running backs and No. 80 overall among prospects for the 2012 draft, according to ratings by NFL DraftScout.com.

However, there will be teams that covet his ability to use a low center of gravity, quickness and acceleration to produce explosive plays on the ground and as a potential return man. He has drawn comparisons to successful former NFL backs including Warrick Dunn and Brian Westbrook. Rob Rang compared him to another undersized back in this Week 11 Breakdown. 

"I am 100 percent behind LaMichael," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "He is a very special person and certainly will be remembered as one of the very best players ever to wear a uniform at the University of Oregon. It has been a pleasure to coach him for the four seasons he has been here and is comforting to know that he will obtain his degree this spring. I could not have asked anymore from him and I am confident he will be a success at the next level."

James joins Wilson, Pierce, Miami's Lamar Miller, Washington's Chris Polk and San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman in announcing they will forgo their remaining eligibility - Miller and Hillman are redshirt sophomores.

Assuming Richardson joins in on the fun, as expected, running back is shaping up as the 2012 draft's deepest position.


Posted on: January 2, 2012 8:24 am
 

Six New Year's Day* matchups to watch

Due to New Year's Day falling on a Sunday this year all of the traditional bowl games played on this day were moved to Monday. For football enthusiasts it just means an extension of an already dramatic college football season.

Whether you are a hardcore fan preparing yourself to watch every second you can of the six games on tap today or just want to have a handy Who-To-Watch guide for the few minutes you get to sneak away from your job to check the game, I've got you covered with one head to head matchup NFL scouts will be watching.

Here they are:

TicketCity Bowl

Penn State DT Devon Still vs. Houston C Chris Thompson: The 6-4, 310 pound Still currently ranks No. 8 on NFLDraftScout.com's 2012 board for all prospects. Opposing him is Houston's Thompson, a 6-2, 285 pound technician who we rank as a likely free agent (rated No. 38 amongst centers). Don't think that the Cougars won't have a plan for Still and the rest of a talented Penn State defensive line. The beauty of Houston's spread offense is that it gets the ball out of Case Keenum's hands so quickly that often bigger, more athletic pass rushers are limited in what role they can have. Couple that with the fact that Thompson is a wily veteran who earned his second consecutive All-Conference USA honors this season (last year he won it playing guard) and we have an interesting matchup to start off the day.

Capital One Bowl

Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard vs. South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery: Scouts circled this one in red ink, and Jeffery should do the same. He's against the clock to prove he's not overhyped in an offense that caters to his natural skills. Jeffery, a junior, has a 6-inch and nearly 25-pound advantage on the Nebraska senior cornerback. Dennard's late-season push to work back into first-round conversation would get an exclamation point if he muzzles the gifted but undisciplined Jeffery.

Outback Bowl

Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy vs. Georgia C Ben Jones: There may not be a defensive tackle in the country blessed with a more impressive combination of burst off the snap and strength than Michigan State's junior defensive tackle. Playing in the SEC, however, has prepared Jones for just this type of matchup. While the All-SEC center may lack Worthy's power and athleticism, the senior is tough-minded, technically sound and a legitimate top 75 pro prospect, in his own right. If nothing makes you happier during the holidays than a good old fashioned battle in the trenches, this is the showdown to watch.

Gator Bowl

Florida DT Jaye Howard vs. Ohio State C Mike Brewster: Just like in the Outback Bowl, I expect the television analysts to focus on matchups between the skill position players in the Gator Bowl but winner of the Gator Bowl will likely be the team that gets more from their senior in the middle. Howard is quietly among the better, all-around senior defensive tackles and is being viewed by some 3-4 clubs as a possible conversion to defensive end. Brewster isn't flashy but is a tough guy who always competes and is starting his 49th consecutive game. Each is listed by NFLDraftScout.com as potential mid round picks.

Rose Bowl

Wisconsin FS Aaron Henry vs. Oregon RB LaMichael James: The key to stopping the "Quack Attack" is the same as it is with most offenses: take away the running game. Without a dominant front line, the Badgers will have to demonstrate extraordinary discipline in the back half of their defense. Fortunately, they boast a terrific all-around defender in Henry, a former cornerback who has earned all-conference honors after each of his two seasons at free safety. Scouts, of course are even more familiar with James as he's led the country in rushing yards the past two years. If James is to leave Oregon after this season as those close to the program expect, notching yet another 20-plus carry game (he has seven this year) against a traditionally stout defense could help convince scouts the 5-9, 195-pound back has the toughness to be successful in the NFL.

Fiesta Bowl

Oklahoma State FS Markelle Martin vs. Stanford TE Coby Fleener: If there is a safety in the country with as many responsibilities looming as Wisconsin's Henry, it is Martin. At 6-1, 198 pounds Martin doesn't have the bulk scouts generally prefer, but his coverage skills and penchant for the big play have made him NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior at the position. It will be those coverage skills that are put to the test against Andrew Luck and his favorite target, the 6-6, 245-pound Fleener. With little speed on the flanks, Stanford's passing game attacks the field down the middle. As such, the winner of this one on one battle could very well determine the Fiesta Bowl champion.



Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:34 am
 

USC RB Tyler dislocates left shoulder vs. Cal

USC senior running back Marc Tyler was sidelined in the second half of the Trojans' 30-9 victory over Pac-12 rival California Thursday night with a dislocated left shoulder.

Tyler was limited to 30 yards on 11 attempts against a stout Cal run defense before suffering the injury. He was clearly in pain as he walked off the field. When he returned Tyler was in street clothes.

Tyler, 5-10 and 230 pounds, is viewed as one of the better power runners of the 2012 draft. His inconsistencies on and off the field while with the Trojans, however, have made his stock unsteady, at best. Currently, he is NFLDraftScout.com's 20th rated running back for the 2012 draft.

Tyler has rushed for 338 yards and two touchdowns so far in 2011 and has 1,521 yards and 13 touchdowns for his career.

It has been a rough few weeks for Pac-12 running backs on Thursday primetime games. Last week Oregon running back LaMichael James suffered an ugly elbow dislocation against Cal. The 2011 Heisman finalist, who is seeking his second consecutive season as the NCAA's leading rusher, is expected to be sidelined for Oregon's showdown Saturday night against Arizona State.

Oregon head coach Chip Kelly refused to provide a timetable for James' return. USC's Lane Kiffin will hopefully be a little more forthcoming with Tyler's expected return date.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:37 am
Edited on: October 7, 2011 12:40 am
 

LaMichael James carted off field in air cast

Oregon running back LaMichael James was carted off the field with his right arm in an air cast Thursday night game against California.

The injury occured when James' arm was bent backward as he was tackled by a host of Cal defenders. The crowd hushed as they realized the Ducks' star was the injured player. James was in obvious pain as his training staff attended to him. Oregon and California players, alike, knelt in concern as 2010 Heisman finalist was driven into a tunnel in Autzen Stadium. 

James, the NCAA's leading rusher last season with 1,731 yards, had been enjoying another spectacular night. He left the field having rushed 30 times for 239 yards and a touchdown against a Cal defense that was one of the few to shut him down last year. Cal limited James to just a 3.4 yards on 29 carries last year -- a lower number than Auburn allowed in the BCS Championship game. 

Including the rushing yards he put up against Cal Thursday, James has run for 852 yards in 2011 -- or 118 yards more than the next highest rusher in the country, Pittsburgh's Ray Graham. Graham, like James, has played in five games.

Many expected James, a junior, to strongly consider leaving early for the NFL following this season.

Posted on: October 6, 2011 6:50 pm
 

Oregon CB Harris vs Cal WRs key matchup tonight

For those hoping to watch future NFL prospects in tonight's Pac-12 matchup between Oregon and California there are certainly plenty of prospects to focus on.

Oregon junior running back LaMichael James was a Heisman finalist last season and has the speed and elusiveness to contribute to any NFL team's rushing attack.

Continuing a recent tradition at Cal, the Golden Bears boast two nationally underrated front seven defenders in defensive end Trevor Guyton and inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks.

The top individual matchup in tonight's 9:00 Eastern kickoff, however, is Oregon junior cornerback Cliff Harris against Cal's playmaking duo of receivers, sophomore Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones. The game will be televised by ESPN.

Harris led the country with 23 pass breakups and the Pac-10 with six interceptions. Slim for some team's tastes, Harris' speed, quick feet, instincts and spectacular ball skills nonetheless make him one of the more exciting big play cornerbacks in the country. He's had to work to get himself back into the good graces of head coach Chip Kelly, however, after a well documented summer off the field.

As talented as Harris is, at 5-11 and 175 pounds, he'll have a tough challenge tonight against Allen and Jones, who are each listed at 6-3, 205 pounds.

Allen, a true sophomore, impressed last season catching 46 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns. He's already nearly eclipsed these numbers this year, hauling in a team-leading 30 passes for 498 yards and three scores, including a 10-catch, 197 yard, one score effort last Saturday against Washington.

Jones is quietly gaining traction with scouts as one of the more interesting later round receivers of the 2012 draft. Possessing an intriguing combination of size and overall athleticism, he's flashed big play ability throughout his career (10 career touchdowns) and is averaging a career high 16.3 yards per reception thus far this season (on 23 catches).


Posted on: January 10, 2011 1:45 pm
 

This one on one matchup will decide BCS Champion

Breaking down No. 1 rated Auburn and No. 2 Oregon in the weeks leading up to tonight's BCS Championship, what is most clear is why these two teams went undefeated.

The Tigers and Ducks each boasted a rare combination of schematic and athletic advantages over their prior opponents. Their spread option offenses not only put their athletes in position to make big plays, their skill position players have the elusiveness and speed to take full advantage.

What is also clear is that the two teams match up very well against each other.

Auburn has been able to simply out-score their SEC opponents, protecting a pass defense that ranked 106th (out of 120 teams) in the FBS. Though Oregon's running attack, led by Heisman finalist LaMichael James, rightly gets most of the attention, how Auburn's secondary is able to handle the passing of Darron Thomas will be key. Few realize that Thomas tied Stanford's Andrew Luck with a sparkling 28 touchdown passes to lead the Pac-10 during the regular season -- or that the sophomore Thomas accomplished this with 28 fewer attempts.

Auburn has the beef inside with Nick Fairley and an active inside linebacker in Josh Bynes to potentially slow James, but it won't do any good if Thomas and the Ducks' prolific passing attack gets hot against the Tigers' vulnerable secondary.

It is the Oregon defense's ability to match up against Heisman winner Cam Newton, however, that will ultimately determine whether the Pac-10 or SEC champion will get to hoist the BCS Championship trophy.

Oregon isn't as heavy on the defensive line as the Tigers, but possess their own playmaking defensive tackle in Brandon Bair, who led the Pac-10's interior defensive linemen with 15.5 tackles for loss.

If Bair is capable of collapsing the pocket, it will allow Oregon to keep their back seven in coverage and allow the Ducks' inside linebacker Casey Matthews to serve as a spy of sorts against Newton.

SEC teams have tried and failed to incorporate a spy against Newton. Newton has proven far too athletic for linebackers to handle him and much too big for safeties.

Matthews is neither particularly physical nor speedy, but does present a different problem for Newton and the Tigers -- he is one of the country's most instinctive defenders and, just as importantly, more reliable open field tacklers.
 
If Matthews is able to corral Newton, the Heisman Trophy winner will have to rely on just his passing to beat the Ducks. While NFL scouts would certainly love to see Newton's accuracy in the pocket put to this type of test, Auburn fans would not. Oregon's secondary has long been a strength (consider they've sent Patrick Chung, Jairus Byrd, T.J. Ward and Walter Thurmond into the NFL the past two years) and feature two sophomores in cornerback Cliff Harris and free safety John Boyett headed that way. Newton has impressed with his passing ability, but if forced to stay in the pocket, he could struggle against this athletic secondary.

Clearly, there are many factors that could determine a game this closely matched, not the least of which is how each team handles the long layoff.

In the end, however, the winner of Newton and Matthews' one on one matchup is most likely to determine the 2010 BCS Champion.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com