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Mater Dei RB to play football at Oregon

08/02/2016, 6:13pm PDT
By Don Norcross

CJ Verdell led Crusaders to 14-1 record, State Football Championship Bowl win last season

Mater Dei Catholic's CJ Verdell rushed for 2,135 yards as a junior.

Mater Dei Catholic senior CJ Verdell has committed to play football at Oregon.

A 5-foot-9, 198-pound tailback with a combination of speed and power, Verdell led the Crusaders to a 14-1 record last season and a Division V-AA State Football Championship Bowl victory.

Verdell rushed for 2,135 yards as a junior on 169 carries, a 12.6-yard average. He scored 34 touchdowns — 28 rushing, five receiving and one on a kickoff. One TD came on a 99-yard run from scrimmage.

Verdell said he had scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, Colorado, Utah, Vanderbilt and Boston College. He said he picked Oregon “because of the way they take care of their players.”

“Academically,” he said, “they make sure everyone gets their school work done. You have to try to fail there.”

At Oregon, Verdell will join Imperial High standout Royce Freeman, the San Diego Section’s all-time leading rusher with 7,601 yards. The 5-11, 230-pound Freeman has rushed for 3,201 yards his first two seasons at Oregon, including a school-record 1,836 yards last season.

Verdell said Oregon coaches envision him lining up in the slot in the Ducks’ spread offense.

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