Oregon Ducks: Ayele Forde
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesDe'Anthoy Thomas was the only player in the country with more than 400 yards rushing, receiving and returning last season.Very few programs in the country can lose someone like LaMichael James and hope to simply replace him with a similar talent. One of the biggest ways to be a true power program in college football is the ability to do just that.
The Ducks hope to prove themselves this year as they have a talented group of backs who should continue the dominant Oregon running game.
With James' departure, senior Kenjon Barner finally has the chance to be the go-to back for the high-flying Ducks. Being the go-to back means little in Chip Kelly's system, as Barner knows very well.
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July, 16, 2012
By Brandon P. Oliver | ESPN.com
Harry How/Getty ImagesWith LaMichael James now in the NFL, senior running back Kenjon Barner is now thrust into the spotlight as Oregon's go-to guy in the backfield.In addition to the Ducks' loss at home to USC last season, there are a couple other reasons many believe Oregon's time at the top of the Pac-12 has come to an end. The loss of the most successful quarterback in program history will set the Ducks back, but some point to the loss of LaMichael James as the main reason for a potential step back.
When James was in Eugene, he was perhaps the most explosive player in program history. He might have been the most explosive player in the country as well. Then, along came De'Anthony Thomas, who will help take his place in 2012. As a freshman in 2011, Thomas instantly became the most explosive player on the Ducks and, arguably, in the country.
Best Pac-12 Position Group in 2014 Class
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35