CJ Verdell has made the decision to remain in the NFL draft which means that Oregon football will need some unproven guys to step up.
How do you replace two players who rushed for 1,000 yards at least once in their four-year Oregon football careers? Honestly, you don’t.
On Monday afternoon, CJ Verdell took to Twitter to pen a farewell to Oregon fans, stating that he was going to remain in the NFL draft, joining Travis Dye and Trey Benson as the other running backs to leave the program this offseason.
With Verdell’s departure, Oregon is left with one healthy running back on the roster in the form of freshman Byron Cardwell who had a solid first season with the Ducks.
There’s another quality running back on the roster, but Sean Dollars is coming off an injury that kept him out the entire 2021 season. He rushed for 81 yards on just seven carries in 2019 and had 47 yards on eight carries in 2020, but he could finally get an extended opportunity if he’s healthy in 2022.
But Oregon will absolutely need him to be healthy in 2022 in order to have a shot at playing for anything meaningful. You just can’t win with one running back.
Dollars will play an important role for Oregon football in 2022
Cardwell returns for his sophomore year as the projected lead back right now and Dollars will hope to be fully healthy by the season opener. Other potential options include Colorado running back transfer Jarek Broussard who just visited Eugene this past weekend and four-star Georgia commit Jordan James who also took a trip to Oregon.
Even if the Ducks add James and Broussard, Dollars will need to be healthy because he’ll be a veteran in the running back room and potentially the No. 2 guy on the depth chart.
Cardwell is a talented back and he has a bright future and Broussard could be a capable lead back as well, but Dollars just has that electricity at the position that could change games. We’ve seen it in small spurts, but he can’t seem to stay healthy enough to put a full season together. That will need to change if Oregon wants to have success running the ball next season.
Losing Verdell was the final move that made Dollars’ role on the 2022 team seem that much more important. When he entered the portal and decided to come back to Oregon, I didn’t think he would have a major role next season, but now that Dye and Verdell are both gone and there’s just one back currently on the roster with just a year of experience under his belt, the Ducks need Dollars.