Oregon Football's Jordan James Listed as 2024 Breakout Candidate

Oregon football's Jordan James was recently named one of 10 college players looking to have a breakout season in 2024. The Pro Football Focus list of players is mostly dominated by athletes from the Big Ten and the SEC.
Nov 18, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Jordan James (20) against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the second half at Mountain America Stadium.
Nov 18, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Jordan James (20) against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the second half at Mountain America Stadium. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon football's Jordan James was recently named one of 10 college players looking to have a breakout season in 2024. The Pro Football Focus list of players is mostly dominated by athletes from the Big Ten and the SEC.

Here are the breakout candidates.

1. Kyren Lacy, LSU Tigers Wide Receiver

Kyren Lacy scores a touchdown as the LSU Tigers take on Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium.
Kyren Lacy 2 scores a touchdown as the LSU Tigers take on Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 25, 2023. / SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA

Lacy played behind two strong teammates last year in Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr., both now chasing NFL dreams. He is likely to enter fall camp as the top wide receiver on the roster.

2. Nico Iamaleava, Tennessee Volunteers Quarterback

Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Nico Iamaleava poses with the MVP Trophy after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Jan 1, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Nico Iamaleava (8) poses with the MVP Trophy after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camping World Stadium. / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

Iamaleava provided a glimpse of his talents in the Vols' bowl game against Iowa, in which he recorded three touchdowns against one of the nation’s best defenses.

3. Jackson Arnold, Oklahoma Sooners Quarterback

Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Jackson Arnold throws a touchdown pass during the Oklahoma Sooners spring game.
Apr 20, 2024; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Jackson Arnold (11) throws a touchdown pass during the Oklahoma Sooners spring game at Gaylord Family OK Memorial Stadium. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With former QB Dillon Gabriel now an Oregon Duck via the transfer portal, Arnold moves into the starting lineup. He is a dual-threat athlete with outstanding arm talent in a program with a history of elite signal callers.

4. Conner Weigman, Texas A&M Aggies Quarterback

Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Conner Weigman looks on against the Miami Hurricanes.
Sep 9, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Conner Weigman (15) looks on against the Miami Hurricanes during the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Weigman was poised to have a breakout season in 2023, but unfortunately suffered an injury against Auburn that ended his year. Weigman has the necessary traits to be an all-star quarterback. Look for him to return to pre-injury form this fall.

5. Ja'Den McBurrows, Michigan Wolverines Cornerback

Michigan Wolverines defensive back Ja'Den McBurrows and defensive back DJ Waller Jr. celebrate after a turnover.
Dec 2, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive back Ja'Den McBurrows (18) and defensive back DJ Waller Jr. (13) celebrate after a turnover during the second half of the Big Ten Championship game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Lucas Oil Stadium. / Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

McBurrows played a total of 182 snaps in 2023, during which he was credited with seven solo tackles while allowing a total of five catches for 40 yards. Despite just one interception last season, he leads a defense that should be long on talent in 2024.

6. Brock Vandagriff, Kentucky Wildcats Quarterback

Kentucky quarterback Brock Vandagriff hands the ball off to wide receiver Barion Brown during spring football practice.
University of Kentucky quarterback Brock Vandagriff hands the ball off to wide receiver Barion Brown during spring football practice on Saturday, April 6, 2024. / Clare Grant/Courier Journal / USA TODAY

Vandagriff played two seasons with national champion Georgia. After losing his starting role to Carson Beck, he transferred to Kentucky. Vandagriff didn’t see much playing time in 2023 but looks to take the starting job for a program on the rise.

7. Oscar Delp Georgia Bulldogs Tight End

Georgia Bulldogs tight end Oscar Delp runs after a catch against the Mississippi Rebels.
Nov 11, 2023; Athens, Georgia, USA; A Georgia Bulldogs tight end Oscar Delp (4) runs after a catch against the Mississippi Rebels during the second half at Sanford Stadium. / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Delp follows in the footsteps of Brock Bowers, former Georgia star and a first-round draft pick by the Las Vegas Raiders. Delp stepped up in 2023 when Bowers went down with an injury and demonstrated the ability to take a lead role in the offense. Look for Delp to get even more action in 2024.

8. Miller Moss, USC Trojans Quarterback

USC quarterback Miller Moss shakes hands with DirecTV Holiday Bowl president Dennis Dubard after a victory over Louisville.
Dec 27, 2023; San Diego, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Miller Moss (7) shakes hands with DirecTV Holiday Bowl president Dennis Dubard after victory over the Louisville Cardinals at Petco Park. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Moss gets his opportunity to lead the Trojans following the departure of Caleb Williams, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Moss displayed his ability to shine during USC’s bowl game against Louisville. It is now up to this redshirt junior to make the most of this situation in the electric Lincoln Riley offense.

9. Sonny Styles, Ohio State Buckeyes Safety

Ohio State Buckeyes safety Sonny Styles takes a photo with fans after their game against Minnesota.
Nov 18, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Sonny Styles (6) takes a photo with fans after their game against Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023 at Ohio Stadium. / Clare Grant/The Columbus Dispatch / USA

Despite being a star on an Ohio State defense that was one of the best in the country, Styles has room to show even more. Look for this 6-4, 230-pound safety to lead arguably the best defense in the nation.

10. Jordan James, Oregon Ducks Running Back

Oregon Ducks running back Jordan James breaks a tackle by Liberty Flames cornerback Kobe Singleton.
Jan 1, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Jordan James (20) breaks a tackle by Liberty Flames cornerback Kobe Singleton (3) as he runs the ball during the second quarter of the 2024 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In 2023, James shared carries with Bucky Irving, a fourth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2024 NFL Draft. Statistics, however, make the case that James was the better ball carrier. He played in all 14 games as a sophomore, rushing for 759 yards on just 107 carries.

James also led the Pac-12 and ranked 10th nationally with an impressive 7.09 yards per carry. His 11 rushing touchdowns tied for most on the team and was third-most in the Pac-12.

Despite the departure of Irving, the Ducks still have a strong running back room. However, James is likely to be the featured back in Oregon’s offense and will get plenty of opportunities to prove last season was just a warm-up for this rising star.


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Mark Lantz

MARK LANTZ