Player Profile #78 – RB Shane Vereen

There are a lot of moments in football where a player has to be ready when it’s his time and they need to be prepared for opportunity.

That’s a big part of the story behind Shane Vereen and his football career at the University of California. Vereen spent his first year on a redshirt, and then for two seasons he backed up starter Jahvid Best, who was drafted in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft by Detroit.

Vereen’s opportunity came in the 2010 season in Berkley and he made the most of it – running for over 1,100 yards and establishing himself as a running back worthy of early consideration in the Draft.

Here’s his story.

FAMILY MATTERS

Shane Patrick-Henry Vereen (vuh-REEN)

Born – March 2, 1989 in Valencia, California.

Family – Parents are Henry Vereen and Venita Taylor-Vereen. His parents met while they were both going to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas on athletic scholarships. Henry was a wide receiver-returner, who finished his four-year career with 4,280 total yards, leading the Rebels in kickoff returns for four years and punt returns for two seasons. Henry Vereen was a ninth-round choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1979. He never played a regular-season game for the Bucs or in the NFL, although he did play in the CFL. Venita Taylor was a four-year member of the UNLV tennis team.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 5-feet, 10¼ inches.
  • Weight – 210 pounds.
  • Arm – 30 5/8 inches.
  • Hand – 9 inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.49 seconds.
  • 20-yard dash – 2.58 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.56 seconds.
  • Bench press – 31 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 34 inches.
  • Broad jump – 9-feet, 7 inches.

HIGH SCHOOL

Vereen graduated with the class of 2007 from Valencia High School in Valencia, CA. It’s part of the William S. Hart Union High School District.

Over his three-year varsity career, he ran for 3,927 yards and added 2,080 receiving yards. He also scored 93 touchdowns during his career with the Vikings.

Vereen also ran track at Valencia High and in 2006 he had the fastest 100-meter dash time of any high school junior in southern California at 10.61 seconds.

2006 – He ran for 890 yards on 114 carries and 16 TDs. Vereen’s career best performance came against Golden Valley High, when he ran 14 times for 354 yards and 6 TDs in a 58-7 victory. He caught 28 passes for 455 yards and six scores. On defense he had 27 tackles and one INT. The Vikings had a 3-7 season.

2005 – Vereen ran for 1,638 yards on 169 carries and 28 TDs. His best game was 208 yards on 14 carries with six TD runs against Trabuco Hills. He caught 52 passes for 898 yards and 7 TDs. He added 43 tackles, 1 sack and 3 INTs on defense. VHS went 9-4 on the season.

2004 – He ran for 1,399 yards on 205 carries with 28 TDs. His top performance was 193 yards on 17 carries for three TDs against Chino Hills. Vereen also caught 55 catches for 727 yards and four TDs. He also threw one pass; it went 39 yards for a score. The Vikings won Foothill League title with a 12-2 record.

2003 – Suffered season ending injury in first scrimmage of the pre-season.

RECRUITING

Vereen’s high school resume drew the interest of a large number of major football programs, specifically California, Colorado, Duke, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Southern Cal and Washington. He committed to Cal-Berkley in August 2006.

COLLEGE

Vereen received his bachelor’s degree in media studies in December 2010. He announced on January 1, 2011 that he was going to give up his final season of college eligibility to declare for the NFL Draft.

He played in 38 games with 19 starts for the Bears under head coach Jeff Tedford. In his first two seasons she shared the duties at RB with Jahvid Best. Last season, with Best gone to the NFL (Detroit), Vereen became the featured back in the Cal offense.

His 2,834 rushing yards is the seventh highest career total in school history. His 4,069 all-purpose yards ranks him fifth all-time at Cal. He earned honorable mention All-Pac 10 honors in ’09 and a spot on the second team in 2010.

2010 – In what proved to be his final season with the Bears, Vereen started 12 games and ran 231 times for 1,167 rushing yards and 13 TD runs. Against Nevada, he ran for 198 yards on 19 carries with three rushing TDs, including a 59-yard TD run. He had six games at 100+ yards.

2009 – Vereen played in 13 games with four starts. His 183 carries produced 952 yards with 12 TDs. He ran for 193 yards against Stanford on 42 carries with 3 TDs. He also had big games against Arizona (159 yards) and UCLA (154 yards). He caught 25 passes for 244 yards and 2 TDs.

2008 – In his first season on the field, Vereen played in all 13 games with three starts. He ran for 715 yards on 142 carries, scoring four TDs on ground and he caught 5 TD passes. In his first college game, he started against Michigan State where he ran the ball nine times for 101 yards, including an 81-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

2007 – Redshirt season

Year

G

S

Att.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

 

Rec.

Yds.

TD

2010

13

13

231

1,167

5.1

13

 

22

209

3

2009

13

4

183

952

5.2

12

 

25

244

2

2008

13

3

142

715

5.0

4

 

27

221

1

Total

39

20

556

2,834

5.1

29

 

74

674

6

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – Although he’s not a big body, Vereen can run like a power back because of his upper-body strength. He hits the line with a bang and makes quick decisions on where he’s taking the ball. There’s no dancing when he has the ball. He sticks his foot in the ground and gets up the field. Not fast, but quick and he can get to the edge. He’s a heady runner who sets up his blockers and does not hesitate when moving forward. Good hands and does a good job as a receiver. He’s a one-cut and go type runner, who will be very good running behind a zone-blocking scheme.

Weaknesses – Vereen is not an elusive back, he’s not shifty and he does not outright break many tackles. He must improve his ball security, as he doesn’t always tuck the ball away in a secure position. He’s so strong in the upper body that he can get by with that on the college level. In the pros, they’ll knock those balls out. Pass protection is not one of his strengths and it’s one area he must improve if he wants to be an every-down back. With his upper body strength and lower body power, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to handle those duties.

Analysis – Among the running backs in this draft class, he may be the most complete. Sharing the top RB job at California for two of his three years kept him from taking a huge pounding. Teams are going to like his durability and toughness.

WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

An AFC scout said – “Really under-rated as a back, this kid is going to be very productive in the league. He can do everything and he’s seen a lot of NFL offensive type schemes playing for Cal. He’s not exceptionally fast, but he hits the hole quick and fast.”

Another AFC scout said – “Don’t talk about him. He’s really flown under the radar for some reason. We like him about a round later than most people have him rated. If he gets to us, we’ll grab him.”

WHAT HE HAS TO SAY

“I have good speed and great vision. I see the field and just react. I play with good instincts and just always try to get as many yards as possible. I still need to get stronger so I can break more tackles and improve my blocking skills.”

WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY

University of Arizona head coach Mike Stoops – “I don’t think there’s any question about his ability, his size, his vision, his speed, his balance. He breaks tackles. He’s a complete running back. There’s nothing he can’t do on the field.”

Former Stanford and now 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh – “He’s a really efficient runner when it comes to him getting all the yards that are blocked for him. And he is explosive enough to get even more yards than what are blocked for. He can take it the distance. He’s one of those backs who can make a big run.”

Southern Cal head coach Lane Kiffin – “He’s the next great running back.”

California head coach Jeff Tedford – “He has a great feel for the running game and he’s got great speed, but the way he catches the football out of the backfield, you can put him at receiver. He’s got a great feel for the passing game.”

DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

Any good running back would fit with what Todd Haley wants to do with his offense. Vereen is a good RB and he’s multi-talented and Haley would love this guy’s durability and tough running style. It’s hard to see the Chiefs taking Vereen in the first two rounds and there’s no way he’ll be there for round No. 3.

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