Of all the players the San Francisco 49ers selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, the one name that holds the attention of the nation is running back LaMichael James. As many of you know James garnered recognition from the national media while playing for the high profile Oregon Ducks football program in the NCAA's Pac-12 conference. He was widely recognized as a constant offensive threat who could also return punts and kicks if necessary. The one thing he struggled with was catching passes out of the backfield, but that's something that could be improved upon easily with practice.
Since officially joining the 49ers during the team's last week of minicamp (June 21) James has already had the opportunity to do an interview with 49ers.com discussing the importance of his college education and how eager he is to help the 49ers win.
When he discusses how important it was for him to finish his degree in criminal justice, I can hear just how sincere he is. He may have been drafted into the NFL but he realizes just how fragile of a career he could have in the NFL and he also stressed the fact that he wanted to finish what he has set out to accomplish - another trait I find to be important. With the amount of people that have their sights set on the 49ers, James will certainly have some expectations to live up to and if he's willing to sacrifice some extra time working on his game he can certainly prove to be one of the 49ers' most dangerous offensive weapon.
Aside from his positive attitude, watching his agility and speed on the field during the drills is impressive. I'm not sure I can remember the 49ers have a running back as explosive as James has the potential to be. Surely Kendall Hunter would be the closest thing to James, but I think that James will have the ability to run between the tackles much more effectively than Hunter was able to in his rookie year. Perhaps the two will collaborate and share insight as the team grows closer together, but at the same time, they will likely be competing for playing time.
In any light, James looks like a player who could have a real future in the NFL if he adheres to the same strict standards he has held himself to throughout his career. I do firmly believe that Jim Harbaugh will know exactly how he wishes to utilize James and James will respond positively. Just be prepared from some explosiveness from the 49ers' backfield.
Food for thought: How do you see James fitting in with the 49ers this season? Will he be primarily held to kick return duties or will he see some time in the 49ers' backfield?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
49ers.com. LaMichael James Joins 49ers. NFL 2012.
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