Commentary

Personnel points: James impressive

LaMichael James and Dont'a Hightower headline players who impressed Mel

Originally Published: September 26, 2011
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
OregonJason O. Watson/US PresswireLaMichael James had an impressive game against Arizona this past weekend.

Each week, Mel Kiper gives updates on a group of prospects who have caught his eye -- some well-known, others well under the radar.

LaMichael James, RB, Oregon Ducks

In Oregon's 56-31 win over Arizona, James rushed for a career-high 288 yards on 23 carries. He also caught two catches for 15 yards, and one of his three punt returns went for 51 yards. The fourth-year junior not only is a tremendous breakaway threat but also has shown that despite lacking feature back size (5-foot-9, 195 pounds), he can handle a heavy workload (294 carries last season) and is very effective running between the tackles. The difference between this season and last is that James has become more incorporated into the passing game (tied for second on the team with 11 catches; had 17 in all of 2010), and he's been given a chance to showcase his skills as a punt returner for the first time in his career. (Two of his five returns have gone for more than 50 yards.) The decision to return to school for another year has proved to be a good one for James, as he has only enhanced his stock with what we've seen in the first month of the season.


Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama Crimson Tide

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst