LaMichael James coming back in 2011

Running back LaMichael James announced Thursday he will return to Oregon next season, which likely means he will be the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite and the Ducks will again be national title contenders.

In addition to James, Oregon coach Chip Kelly told reporters that all nine underclassmen who requested NFL draft evaluations said they will return for the 2011 season.

That means the Ducks will welcome back six starters on offense, five on defense and both specialists.

James, who was a Heisman Trophy finalist as a redshirt sophomore, rushed for 1,682 yards this season.

The second-ranked Ducks play No. 1 Auburn in the national championship game in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10.