PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Former University of Oregon running back LaMichael James has had an eventful last week and a half.
In the thick of opening his third Killer Burger restaurant in Eugene, he received some news he was certainly not expecting.
“I had no idea when it would come or anything,” the Duck alumni said. “It was definitely [an out-of-left-field] type of deal.”
Earlier this month, U of O called the running back saying they were sending him package. Understandably, he thought it was Nike gear.
It turned out to be something much better — even if it took him a bit to realize.
“I pick up the box, I’m like, ‘This ain’t no shoes.’ So, I immediately leave. I’m like, ‘I’m about to go walk the dog,’” recalled James. “I come back, open the box up, and it’s like this Hall of Fame thing — there’s a football, there’s a letter. I’m thinking maybe it’s like a nomination, an award. I’m like, ‘This is cool. This is a regular nomination award.’ Leave again. I come back, and I read it, and it’s like, you got in the Hall of Fame. Then I had someone else read it and say, ‘You actually made it.’”
James will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December with 21 other members of the 2023 class, which certainly does not lack star power.
“I grew up watching Reggie Bush, just idolizing him and thinking he’s the greatest thing ever. To see my name in the Hall of Fame class with Reggie Bush. Like, how did this happen?” the first consensus two-time all-American in program history said. “I think once I get the award and we go through the whole ceremony, it’ll be real to me — but right now, it’s still kind of surreal. I’m thinking somebody’s going to call me tomorrow and say ‘We made a mistake’ or something.”
As for what the award means to him? That remains surreal as well.
“It hasn’t even registered to me. I think it’s good for the program. Good for the University of Oregon. Good for my teammates. Just brings the spotlight more to Oregon,” said James. He’ll become just the sixth Duck football player to be inducted into the hall.
“[It’s] good for my community back home,” he stated. “Once I get in there, I’ll take some time and I’ll process.”
Something that James doesn’t need to process is what the support from Oregon fans over the last decade and a half have meant to him.
“Sincerely, thank you,” James said. “It has been wonderful. I don’t even know if I can express it enough how wonderful it has been and a blessing for me, just the support I’ve got over the years from the University of Oregon. The fans, the community, just everything.”