61st pick-49ers select Oregon RB LaMichael James. Niners go with speed first two picks. Evaluators loved his natural run skills, ability to create in space and overall production. The obvious concern was over his height and if he will be able to stay durable.
James rushed for a school career record 5,082 yards and became the first Pac-12 player with three straight 1,500-yard seasons. USC’s Charles White (6,245) is the only Pac-12 rusher to run for more career yards. He finished third in the 2010 Heisman voting after leading the nation with 1,731 yards.
James had to overcome many obstacles on his road to the NFL. He never knew his father, who was shot and killed before he was born. His mother handed him off to relatives a few weeks after giving birth to him. The grandmother who raised him died of cancer after his junior year at Liberty-Eylau High School in Texarkana. He continued to live alone in her house after her death. "Things happen in life," said James. "Because one bad thing happens, that shouldn't mean you just give up. If that was the case, I would have stopped a long time ago. Everybody has to overcome adversity, and not everybody overcomes it. I didn't want to be that guy."