To the surprise of absolutely no one, especially in light of recent reports, LaMichael James has officially played his final game as a member of the Oregon Ducks.
Via a school press release, the UO running back announced Friday afternoon that he will be leaving Eugene and making himself available for the April draft.
“My experience at the University of Oregon has been one unlike any other, and one I will never forget,” James said in a statement. “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. The community of Eugene welcomed me with open arms and has supported me since the day I arrived. I am lucky to have been a part of such an amazing place. I can truly say Eugene is my home away from home and a place I will always hold in high regards.
“As for my coaches and teammates — they are my family. I love each and every one of them and am eternally grateful for having each of them be a part of my life. It has been both an honor and a privilege to be a part of something as great as the UO family.”
James has led the nation in rushing yards per game each of the past two seasons and, as a true freshman in 2009, finished ninth.
Thanks to that type of production, some view James as a lock to be a first-round pick in a couple of months. Thanks to his size — he’s listed at 5-9, 195 pounds — others view him as a second rounder at best.
Regardless of what his immediate or long-term NFL future holds, he will remain one of the most electrifying and breathtaking players the college game has seen in the last decade or more.