The opinions and analysis contained in this feature represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the thoughts and opinions of the Seahawks’ coaching staff and personnel department.
Into the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of the NFL comes a back who couldn’t have done much more during his three seasons at the University of Oregon – LaMichael James.
Yes, James lacks prototypical size. But just look at the big-boy numbers he put up for the Ducks: 230 carries for 1,546 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2009; 294 carries for 1,731 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2010; 247 carries for 1,805 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2011, when he also led the nation by averaging 150.4 rushing yards.
He’s slippery. He’s instinctive. He’s fast (Texas state 100-meter champion in high school, also competed in track for the Ducks). He’s obviously productive. But James also stands 5 feet 8 and weighs 194 pounds.
But he did measure up, and then some, during his Q&A session at the NFL Scouting Combine:
Q: You played in a unique offense at Oregon, so how do you feel the transition to a pro-style system will be?
A: “I think it will be just fine. I look at it like those players are playing on Saturdays (in college), and they played on Fridays (in high school). They progressed, and they started playing on Saturdays and they’re going to play on Sundays. It’s the same thing. So you’ve just got to go out there and compete. Those are the same guys. They got a little bigger. I’m going to get a little bigger. They got a little faster, and I’m going to get a little faster.”
Q: You’re already bigger (he played at 185 at Oregon). How has the increased weight affected you?
A: “I’ve gotten a lot stronger, and I’ve gotten a lot bigger, too. So I think it’s going to help me in the 40 (-yard dash), as far as being stronger in my lower body. So I think it’s going to help me out tremendously.”
Q: Two of your former college teammates – Max Unger and Walter Thurmond – are with the Seahawks. Have they helped prepare you for what’s coming at the next level?
A: “Those guys tell me the same thing: The hits are a little harder; everybody moves a little faster. But at the end of the day, football is football. It’s a physical, contact game and you’ve got to go out and compete.”
Q: How did a kid from Texas end up at Oregon?
A: “Wow. You just go. You’ve got to take a leap of faith. I didn’t want to be like everybody else. I always wanted to be different. I didn’t want to be like, ‘Yeah, he went to Texas.’ Or, ‘He went to OU (Oklahoma).’ That’s what everybody does. So I just wanted to be different.”
Q: Are you surprised you’re not getting more attention considering the productivity you had in college?
A: “That doesn’t matter to me. Hype doesn’t win football games. If it did, a lot of teams would win a lot of football games. A lot of players would be great players. I think you have to go out there and compete. I’m going to lead the team in effort. That’s what is important to me, not getting hyped up.”
2012 NFL Draft: Running backs