Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

How to be a great running back: 101

Instructor: LaMichael James

When you think of the history of great running backs to pass through Oregon, the first one that comes to mind is most likely LaMichael James.

Other big names include Jonathan Stewart, LaGarrette Blount, Kenjon Barner and Royce Freeman.

The former Heisman Trophy runner up and the 2010 Doak Walker Award winner as the nation's top running back set the Oregon school record with 1,731 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns.

James was electrifying, plain and simple, making opposing defenses look silly, i.e. Tennessee:

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Matt Hasselbeck below:

James was drafted in the second round (No. 61 overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

While the NFL career didn’t quite work out as planned for James and was cut short in 2015, he still has a lot to give back to the game. 

On Thursday, James tweeted out a photo of a Zoom meeting with the current Oregon running back room of CJ Verdell, Travis Dye, Cyrus Habibi-Likio, Sean Dollars, Cross Patton, Jayvaun Wilson, KJ Maduike, Nick Yaver and running backs coach Jim Mastro.

Maybe someday...

Good news for the Ducks heading into next season is the consistency in that room. Oregon lost only Darrian Felix, transferred to South Florida, from last year’s group. That zero turnover plus guidance and consulting from LaMichael James is a dangerous partnership for the rest of the Pac-12.


CJ Verdell: 1,220 rushing yards; 8 rushing touchdowns; 87.1 yards per game in 2019.

Travis Dye: 658 rushing yards; 1 receiving touchdown; 47 yards per game in 2019.

Cyrus Habibi-Likio: 337 rushing yards; 10 rushing touchdowns; 25.9 yards per game in 2019.

Time to take a page out of the LaMichael James handbook.