Rivals looks at five players who will be household names by November. They flourished in their part-time roles last year and are ready for breakout seasons this year. Among them is our own Shane Vereen.
Vereen nearly kept the [1000 yard] streak alive when he ran for 952 yards and earned honorable mention all-Pac-10 honors despite starting just four games. He spent most of the season backing up Jahvid Best, who entered the year as a Heisman contender before running into injury problems.
Vereen played well enough for California to feel confident in its rushing attack even without Best, who entered the NFL draft after the season and went to the Detroit Lions with the 30th overall selection.
"Shane Vereen is coming back, and he can carry the load," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "I think he has proven that."
Vereen, a junior, proved his ability to carry the load with his performances in the final four games of the 2009 season. He rushed for a combined 566 yards on 108 carries against Arizona, Stanford, Washington and Utah. He gained at least 92 yards in each of those games.
He even outdueled Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart in Cal's 34-28 victory over Stanford.
Gerhart was sensational that day, as he rushed for 136 yards and four touchdowns. Vereen was better. He ran the ball 42 times -- the most carries by any Cal player in eight years -- for 193 yards and three touchdowns.
After the jump Jahvid Best becomes a millionaire, JO wonders if there really is a QB competition at fall camp, several media outlets review Pac-10 Media Day, and more.
- Best signed a 5-year, $9.8 million contract. Also, JJ Arrington joined DeSean Jackson on the Philadelphia Iggles. Alualu has yet to sign a contract.
- Ted Miller has a video interview with Tedford at media day.
- With two kickers who proved to be inconsistent last season, Cal is among the "we'll see" teams in Ted Miller's kicker evaluations.
- JO's skeptical look at whether there really is a QB competition at fall camp this year. With all the praise Tedford heaped on Riley at media day, it sounds like he's the guaranteed starter.
- JO provides some insight into the recently released depth chart.
- Big 12 commish Dan Beebe is confident that Colorado will join the Pac-10 in 2011 (the same year Utah will join). Neither Colorado nor the Big 12 wants to have a team stuck in a lame duck status.
- SFGate recaps the Pac-10 Media Day. Wilner provides his take on the Media Day and ongoing expansion issues.
- CCTimes on various news tidbits over the last week (Whiteside's eligibility, Martin's transfer, Cal picked 7th at Media Day).