In news that should surprise approximately no one, Cal's junior tailback Shane Vereen is following in the path of talents like Jahvid Best, Marshawn Lynch and DeSean Jackson, forgoing his senior season to move onto the NFL draft. He informed California Golden Bears head coach Jeff Tedford of the news last Sunday and told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal (the local newspaper in his hometown of Valencia) of his decision yesterday.
Vereen will probably go overlooked compared to those three names above, but his accomplishments were just as impressive. Backing up Best for a year and a half, then taking over for Jahvid after his concussion and starting the next year and a third, Vereen accumulated 2834 rushing yards, fifth most in Cal history behind Russell White, Lynch, Justin Forsett, and Joe Igber. He has one of the greatest Golden Bear performances of the past decade in the 2009 Big Game, rushing for 191 yards on 42 carries in an upset of the Cardinal. Unfortunately, inconsistent offensive line and average to poor quarterback play (a recurring trend for Cal offenses the past half-decade) wasted most of that production, as Cal went 8-9 in his games as starting tailback.
Shane is projected as a third round prospect by the NFL Draft and the sixth best tailback overall by Sports Illustrated. He was Mel Kiper Jr.'s fifth best junior running back after the conclusion of the 2010 college football regular season ($). Hopefully he'll have a killer combine like Best and up his draft status.
We wish Shane the best, and thank him for an excellent career as a Golden Bear.