2010's New Stars - California RB Shane Vereen
California RB Shane Vereen
California RB Shane Vereen
Posted Mar 22, 2010

Who are the top players you need to know about going into 2010? Richard Cirminiello profiles California RB Shane Vereen.

Spring Preview 2010

The Players You Need To Know

Shane Vereen, RB California

By Richard Cirminiello 

12 New Superstars You Must Know About
- Boston College LB Luke Kuechly
- Connecticut RB Jordan Todman
- Iowa S Tyler Sash
- Kansas State RB Daniel Thomas
- Houston WR James Cleveland
- Navy QB Ricky Dobbs
- Temple RB Bernard Pierce
- TCU LB Tank Carder 
- Kentucky WR Randall Cobb
- North Texas RB Lance Dunbar
- Nevada DE Dontay Moch 

Who is Shane Vereen? … Jahvid Best? Gone. Toby Gerhart? Gone. Vereen is positioned to become the Bay Area's biggest offensive sensation of the 2010 season.

Mostly a compliment the last two years, he gave a month-long sneak peak of his full potential late last fall after Best suffered a devastating concussion. Thrust into the feature role, he sent out a statement to the rest of the Pac-10 with 566 yards and six touchdowns in games against Arizona, Stanford, Washington, and Utah. It was a wicked four-game stretch that eliminated any chance of sneaking up on opponents later this year.

Vereen possesses the rarest of blends for a back, a bona fide homerun hitter with a lunch pail mentality. How exactly does that happen to a budding superstar, especially one raised in the affluence of Valencia, Calif.? Really good parenting. From a very young age, Vereen and brother Brock, who's headed to Minnesota, knew that athletics were only possible if the schoolwork and the chores were completed. It really paid off. Shane is an outstanding student and can probably still cut your lawn better than some landscapers. In the bigger picture, he's a complete kid with a great work ethic. If he can't out run you on a play, he'll make darn sure he out works you.

For all the talk about head coach Jeff Tedford's development of quarterbacks, he and assistant Ron Gould have been even better with backs, turning out 1,000-yard rushers Joe Igber, Adimchinobe Echemandu, J.J. Arrington, Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, and Best. And now Vereen. The tail end of last season was no fluke. He has the speed, cutback ability, confidence, and determination to be every bit as good as his predecessors in Strawberry Canyon.

You might want to start familiarizing yourself with Vereen now because by Oct. 1, he's liable to be a household name in college football circles. When talent meets opportunity, good things often bloom on Saturdays.

Shane Vereen's best game so far was … last Nov. 21 on the Farm. Vereen didn't just have a big game on this day. He had a big game in the Big Game, running 42 times for 193 yards and three touchdowns, all career-highs. He outplayed Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart, while leading the Bears to a pivotal win over rival Stanford in the battle for the Axe.

Why should you care about Shane Vereen? … He's on the tarmac and preparing for lift-off. After rushing for more than 1,600 yards in a complimentary role the last two seasons, all signs point to Vereen being one of this year's breakout stars of the Pac-10, if not the nation. Supported by a massive, veteran offensive line and an experienced quarterback, he's poised to bust out as the focal point of Tedford's offense. Although still a well-kept secret outside the borders of the conference, that's not likely to last beyond the first month of the 2010 season.

Positives about Shane Vereen … Vereen's biggest attribute is that he does so many things well on a football field. Refusing to be typecasted, he believes he can do anything or everything for the Bear offense. He'll run inside, bounce outside the tackles for big yards, catch swing passes out of the backfield, and dedicate himself to becoming a more effective blocker. He runs with ideal pad level and has the cutback moves and open field agility to toy with most defenders. Once he gets into space, he's got the jets to beat defensive backs to the end zone in a foot race.

Negatives about Shane Vereen … Vereen doesn't have as many true weaknesses, per se, as he does areas he'd like to improve upon in 2010. In particular, the junior wants to step up his pass blocking and become even more explosive with his burst through the hole. The latter is being addressed with an intensive offseason training program designed to also prepare him for the most snaps of his Cal career.

A cool thing about Shane Vereen you probably didn't know … A self-proclaimed Wii champion, Vereen isn't bashful about his video game skills. He's willing to take on all challenges from family members, classmates, and teammates, showing particular prowess with Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and Mario Kart.

Career Statistics 2008: 142 carries for 715 yards and four touchdowns; 27 catches for 221 yards and one touchdown
2009: 183 carries for 952 yards and 12 touchdowns; 25 catches for 244 yards and two touchdowns