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2009 BN Pac-10 Awards: Freshman of the Year

The 2009 Pac-10 regular season has come to a close and as we all know, between the end of the regular season and beginning of the bowl season is the all-important awards season. So in that spirit, I present to you, the 2009 BruinsNation Pac-10 Awards. Throughout this week, we will present to you our Pac-10 awards, as voted on by the frontpagers and a select few members of the community, totaling ten votes. Monday was the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, with yesterday bringing us the Defensive Player of the Year. Coach of the Year and Game of the Year will follow later this week. First place votes were worth five points, second place votes worth three and third place votes worth one.

Winner: LaMichael James, Oregon- At just 5'9'', 180 lbs., LaMichael James is a guy you can easily miss and forget. Well, opposing defenders did a lot of missing this season, but not to much forgetting. The diminutive running back was forced into the spotlight when LaGarrette Blount was suspended and boy did he ever take advantage of the opportunity.

James finished second on the conference with 1,476 rushing yard, but his 6.9 yards per carry led the Pac-10 and he found the end zone 14 times, good for fourth in the conference. James rushed for over 5.5 yards per carry in every game this season and topped 100 yards in the nine games that he had 15 rushing attempts.

In Oregon's Civil War win over Oregon St. to seal the Ducks' Rose Bowl bid, James carried the ball 25 times for 166 yards and scored three touchdowns, including a 52 yard scamper that gave Oregon the lead for good in the second half.

You try chasing that kid down. The redshirt freshman was nearly impossible to bring down and he seemingly spun out of every would-be tackle, then flashed that speed that he showed versus Oregon St.

James was the only freshman to be included on all ten ballots, receiving seven first place votes. Arizona St. LB Vontaze Burfict finished second in the voting, while earning two first place votes and third place Andrew Luck, the QB from Stanford, did receive one first place vote of his own. Stanford was the only team to have two players get a vote, with offensive guard David DeCastro, who paved the way for Toby Gerhart, earning a third place vote to join Luck.

Total Votes: 1) LaMichael James, Oregon (7-2-1=42), 2) Vontaze Burfict, Arizona St. (2-3-3=22), 3) Andrew Luck, Stanford (1-4-2=19), 4) Chris Polk, Washington (0-1-2=5), T5) Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA (0-0-1=1), T5) David DeCastro, Stanford (0-0-1=1)