Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.
You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.
3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
2011 numbers: James led the nation with 150.4 yards rushing per game. He rushed for 1,805 total yards -- he missed two games -- with 18 touchdowns and a 7.3 yards per carry average. He also caught 17 passes for 210 yards and a TD, and averaged 10.7 yards per punt return with a TD.
Preseason ranking: No. 2.
Making the case for James: James is the greatest player in Oregon history, and one of the greatest running backs in Pac-12 history. A two-time consensus All-American, he finished his career with 5,082 yards rushing and 53 rushing TDs, totals which both rank second in conference history. He ranked second in the FBS in all-purpose yards per game (181.30), and 11th in scoring average (10.0). He produced 26 games of 100-plus, and seven of 200-plus rushing yards. What most folks don't seem to realize is that James in 2011 was probably better than James in 2010, when he was a Heisman finalist and won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back. He averaged more yards per carry -- 7.3 vs. 5.9 -- than he did in 2010, and did so with a rebuilt offensive line. So why is he No. 3? The distinction ultimately came down to this: Outstanding years by quarterbacks eclipse outstanding years by running backs.