Do the Oregon Ducks need to look to the NCAA Transfer Portal for RB help?

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Much of the Oregon Ducks fanbase has been emotionally preparing for the news that was released on Monday morning. CJ Verdell announced that he will be ending his career in Eugene and heading to the 2022 NFL draft.

The announcement came just a few days after former Oregon RB Travis Dye announced that he would be transferring to the USC Trojans to finish out his college career.

And just like that, arguably one of the best RB tandems in Oregon history is out the door. With them go 1,062 carries, 6,031 yards, and 47 rushing touchdowns. Add to that the combined 142 catches for 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns, and it’s easy to see that the Ducks certainly have a hole to fill in the backfield.

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Does Oregon currently have the players on the roster who can fill that hole?

Part of what makes this transition away from Verdell and Dye a little bit easier to swallow for fans is the fact that a trio of Byron Cardwell, Seven McGee, and Sean Dollars look primed and ready to take over. Cardwell burst onto the scene after Verdell’s injury in 2021, and he looks capable of becoming a premier back if given the opportunity. Nonetheless, that trio has a lot of work to do in order to prove that they can keep up the production that we’ve grown used to in Eugene. At the moment, those three will enter the 2022 season with a combined 103 touches for 694 total yards and 4 touchdowns. There’s certainly some high upside, but without us knowing how any of them will perform over an entire season’s time, a low floor is there if we choose to acknowledge it.

That leads us to a potential solution for the Ducks — might it be time to look at the NCAA transfer portal for help?

Dan Lanning and his staff are way ahead of us. Over the past weekend, when a flurry of recruits aged 18 and under were on campus for both official and unofficial visits, one player stood apart. Former Colorado Buffaloes running back Jarek Broussard was in Eugene checking out the school a few weeks after entering the transfer portal himself.

Broussard is an interesting player to consider, simply because of his past resume. In 2020, he was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 895 yards and 5 touchdowns in the pandemic-shortened season. He had a bit of a down-year in 2021, putting up only 661 yards and 2 touchdowns, but still presents a veteran presence that the Ducks are sorely missing in the backfield at the moment.

If you think it’s a pipe-dream that Oregon can simply snag a heralded player out of the portal days after losing two of their best players from the 2021 roster, you should think again. According to the 247 Sports Crystal Ball predictor, Director of Football Recruiting Steve Wiltfong has entered a prediction that shows he is confident Broussard will end up with the Ducks. It certainly seems like Broussard enjoyed his time in Eugene over the weekend, as well.

Over the next few days, or weeks, we will likely find out what the future holds for Broussard and the Ducks. However, after the news that came from Verdell on Monday, it seems pretty clear that Oregon is making a push for the former Colorado star in trying to fill out their RB depth.

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