LaMichael James, one of the most iconic running backs in the history of the sport and a player who helped cement Oregon as the national brand it is today, has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

The former Oregon running back is one of 22 members of the Class of 2023. The group will be formally inducted at a Dec. 5 dinner in Las Vegas and then enshrined at the Hall in Atlanta.

James becomes the sixth Duck football player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame, joining quarterback Norm Van Brocklin (Class of 1966), running back John Kitzmiller (1969), tackle John Beckett (1972), running back Mel Renfro (1986) and running back Ahmad Rashad (2007). Former Oregon coaches Len Casanova (1977) and Mike Bellotti (2014) are also Hall of Fame inductees.

“Selection to the College Football Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor for LaMichael,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said in a release. “He is a true Duck legend and one of the most electrifying players in the history of college football. The legacy LaMichael left in Eugene is everlasting and a significant reason for the continued success of our football program. He led our team to tremendous heights and produced so many memorable moments while being part of an offense that changed the game of college football. LaMichael’s performance and infectious personality connected him with Oregon fans and gave him a special place in their hearts, and we are extremely proud of him for his election to the Hall of Fame.”

During his three seasons in Eugene (2009-11), James helped the Ducks capture three straight conference championships and reach three consecutive BCS bowl games. He and the Ducks played in the BCS National Championship game in 2011. James ended his Oregon career in remarkable fashion with 159 yards and a touchdown in Oregon’s 45-38 win over Wisconsin in the 2012 Rose Bowl.

James was Oregon’s first unanimous first-team all-American (2010) and consensus two-time All-American (2010 & 2011) in program history. James ranks second all-time at Oregon in career rushing yards (5,082), all-purpose yards (5,869), rushing touchdowns (53), 100-yard rushing games (26), and total points scored (348). He holds the program record with seven career 200-yard rushing performances, including five of more than 225 yards.

He was a two-time first-team all-conference selection (2010, 2011) and became just the third non-kicker since 1980 to lead the Pac-12 in scoring in back-to-back years. He is also one of just three players in conference history to rush for at least 1,700 yards in consecutive seasons.

James won the Doak Walker Award in 2010 as the nation’s best running back and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy after leading the nation in rushing yards (1,731), yards from scrimmage (1,939), and touchdowns (24). His 21 rushing touchdowns are tied for the UO single-season record, and his 144 points scored are the most ever in a single season by an Oregon player. James led Oregon to its first-ever 12-win season, culminating in its first national championship game appearance.

He closed out his career with 1,805 rushing yards in 2011, a mark that stands as the second-best rushing season in program history. That year, he averaged a program-record 7.3 yards per carry and put up a single-game UO record of 363 all-purpose yards in a win at Arizona.

James was drafted by San Francisco in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He played for both the 49ers (2012-14) and the Miami Dolphins (2014-15) during his career.

The rest of the 2023 Hall of Fame Class is below. It features four coaches and 18 former players:

  • Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry
  • Kansas State quarterback Michael Bishop
  • Syracuse defensive end Dwight Freeney
  • Iowa offensive tackle Robert Gallery
  • USC running back Reggie Bush
  • Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson
  • Montana State defensive tackle Bill Kollar
  • Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly
  • Missouri wide receiver/kick returner Jeremy Maclin
  • New Mexico wide receiver Terance Mathis
  • Miami (FL) offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie
  • Virginia Tech defensive lineman Corey Moore
  • Notre Dame linebacker Michael Stonebreaker
  • Florida quarterback Tim Tebow
  • Wisconsin defensive back Troy Vincent
  • Villanova running back Brian Westbrook
  • Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams
  • Monte Carter (Lakeland [WI] 1981-86, Shepherd [WV] 1987-2017)
  • Paul Johnson (Georgia Southern 1997-2001, Navy 2002-07, Georgia Tech 2008-18)
  • Roy Kramer (Central Michigan 1967-77)
  • Mark Richt (Georgia 2001-15, Miami [FL] 2016-18)