After missing training camp in 2012 to finish out the academic year, LaMichael James received almost no work from San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh on offense or on the special teams unit until late in the season, the latter where it seemed he could very well contribute right off the bat. The 2012 second-round draft pick would finally get his chance at an offensive snap in Week 14, and would close out the year as a terrifying new wrinkle of the offense and while notching 417 yards on 14 kickoff returns.
He’ll try his hand at an area James was admittedly green last year, as he’s been seen running under punts through Niners camp thus far.
“It’s like tying shoes now. I’m pretty good at that now,” James said, via the San Jose Mercury News, before doling out credit to Niners special teams coaching staffers Brad Seely and Tracy Smith who field a unit typically among the league’s best. “Without them, I wouldn’t even be back there catching punts like I am today,” James said. “They worked me every single day last year, staying after practice helping me out.”
James looked the part of the most electric running in college football during his years in Chip Kelly’s offense in Oregon and provided a tough player for teams to deal with once paired with Colin Kaepernick, as evidenced in his 15-yard touchdown run in the NFC championship. The good will he gained is finding James increased roles in multiple spots.
“Last year I wasn’t even here and didn’t get to do any of this stuff,” James said. “I’ve been in the offense for a year, picked it up pretty fast to my knowledge and it’s second nature to me. I’m trying to be an all-around athlete.”