Oregon running back CJ Verdell has declared for the 2022 NFL Draft, he announced on Twitter Monday.
"Ever since I was a young buck, I have dreamed of this moment," Verdell wrote. "Now that it has arrived, I have to say it feels surreal. There are not enough words to express my gratitude and love for each and every one of my coaches, teammates, trainers, tutors, family, friends, and supporters. You have all made such a tremendous impact not only on my game, but my life."
Verdell skipped his final year of eligibility at Oregon to pursue a career in the NFL draft. He finishes his career with 2,920 rushing yards (sixth all-time) and 26 career rushing touchdowns in four seasons.
"The memories and friendships that I have made over these last five years are ones that I will cherish and carry with me for the rest of my life," he continued. "With all this being said, I have decided to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Oregon. 7 OUT."
Verdell joins Kayvon Thibodeaux, Verone McKinley III, Mykael Wright, Jordan Happle, and Devon Williams as Ducks to declare for the NFL draft.
Verdell's departure means that the Ducks will have a new starting running back in 2022, as Travis Dye entered the transfer portal and committed to USC for his final year of eligibility. Byron Cardwell looks to be the RB1 heading into spring camp, with a healthy Sean Dollars and Seven McGee poised to back him up.
After coming to Eugene as a four-star recruit from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., Verdell redshirted in 2017 and took off running in 2018. He topped 1,000 yards rushing in his first year, becoming only the third Oregon freshman to do so. His signature moment of the year came against No. 7 Washington when he scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
In 2019, he became the fifth player in Oregon history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, posting 1,220 yards on the ground. His 313 yards from scrimmage (257 rushing, 56 receiving) against Washington State was the most by any player in the FBS that season. He helped the Ducks clinch the Pac-12 title over Utah, earning the Pac-12 Championship Game MVP honor after recording 208 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries against one of the top rushing defenses in the country.
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Verdell got off to a hot start in 2020 but suffered a thumb injury in the second game against Washington State that hindered his availability the rest of the season. He returned to full health in 2021 and logged 161 yards and two touchdowns against No. 3 Ohio State to fuel the Ducks to one of their biggest wins in program history.
Three weeks later, Verdell's season was cut short due to a leg injury suffered against Stanford. However, his four-year career at Oregon provides enough film to scouts proving the kind of player he can be on an NFL roster.
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