RB CJ Verdell, Oregon
HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL): Chula Vista, CA (Mater Dei)
247 RATING: .8752
POSITION RANK: 10
Rushing: 399 rushes, 2,238 yards (5.6 ypc), 18 touchdowns
Receiving: 41 catches, 440 yards (10.7 ypc), 2 touchdowns
Rushing: 197 rushes, 1,220 yards (6.2 ypc), 8 touchdowns
Receiving: 14 catches, 125 yards (8.9 ypc)
CJ Verdell Breakdown
It seems like Oregon running backs will always be underrated. Maybe it’s due to their size, but that hasn’t stopped the Ducks from thriving. Guys like LaMichal James and Kenjon Barner didn’t have great size for their position, but they were two of the best players at their position when they played. CJ Verdell continues that tradition (if you want to call it that).
When a player’s listed under 5’10”, questions immediately arise about their ability. Verdell is proving once again that it’s just a number and doesn’t tell the whole story. Oregon has been know for speed, and their starting running back fits that mold. Verdell is so quick at the snap, and can break off big runs at anytime. If he sees a hole, he’s going to attack it quickly and not think twice, but he’s also great at following his blockers. Granted, four new linemen are needed this year, but Verdell won’t have any issues following them to an opening.
He’s the complete package when it comes to speed and agility, and the Ducks don’t have any reservations about running him between the tackles. Staying on his feet thru contact might be an issue at times, but that’s only if defenders can get a good hit on him. Arm tackles aren’t effective against him, but a decent hit can take him down. His size won’t allow him to win many one-on-one matchups with strength, but that’s why he primarily sticks to his quickness to break tackles. Defenders might be able to get in position to make a hit, but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll be successful.
CJ Verdell follows a long lineage of underrated backs at Oregon, but he has the ability to be one of the best. He’s another fast back who, despite competition behind him, rushed for over 1,200 yards last year (6.2 yards per carry). New faces up front leave some concerns, but the speed at which he plays gives those guys a larger room for error while they learn how to gel.