Nebraska made a late push to add a second running back to its 2017 class, but the Huskers couldn’t get CJ Verdell to flip from Oregon.
Though Verdell took an official visit to Lincoln in the final month before signing day, the running back from near San Diego stood by his commitment to the Ducks and sent them his national letter of intent Wednesday. Verdell had been committed to Oregon since May 2016.
But NU tried to enter the picture late, extending Verdell a scholarship offer on Nov. 22. About a week later, Oregon decided to fire head coach Mark Helfrich, providing an opening for the Huskers to try and nab some of the Duck commits.
Verdell was one NU targeted, and running backs coach Reggie Davis made an in-home visit with Verdell and his family a few days after Helfrich’s firing. About a month later, Verdell chose to take an official visit to Nebraska, speaking highly of the Huskers in interviews following the visit. That positive impression — combined with Oregon’s continued pursuit of other running backs under new coach Willie Taggart — kept NU in the mix until the end.
Davis and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf made their final in-person pitch during a home visit with Verdell and his family last week.
But Verdell chose instead to stay on the West Coast and play his college ball for the Ducks. An unofficial visit he made to Eugene on the final weekend before signing day helped convince him to stick with Oregon.
Verdell was the nation’s No. 27 running back, according to the 247Sports composite.
That leaves Bellevue West’s Jaylin Bradley as the only running back in the Huskers’ 2017 class. Nebraska will also have I-backs Devine Ozigbo, Tre Bryant, Mikale Wilbon and Adam Taylor on scholarship entering the 2017 season.
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