Getting to know Tennessee's class of 2007: No. 19, RB Daryl Vereen

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Introducing No. 19 in Tennessee’s class of 2007, running back Daryl Vereen:

Vereen must be Larry’s other brother Darryl.

Out of obscurity

In 2005, Daryl Vereen was a relatively unknown high school junior prospect. Blame a broken hand that kept him out of four (or three) complete games and parts of four others. Stop for a second and really think about that. Four games for which he probably didn’t even dress. Another four where he played sparingly.

Okay, got it? Now how many yards do you think he could have had that season? Five hundred? Six hundred? More?

More. Vereen rushed 185 times for 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior in 2005. Twelve hundred yards in half a season. According to Vereen, two or three of the games he missed would have been "rack-up" games, so what might he have done had he been healthy?

Hold that thought.

Vereen’s half-a-season of stats gained him one scholarship offer. From Duke. Somebody say woo. But then he ran a 4.35 40 at the Shrine Bowl Combine and a 4.38 40 at the All-American Combine, and an avalanche of text messages ensued.

Vereen continued to impress at Tennessee’s Senior Camp on June 17, 2006. The Vols offered, and Vereen became the Vol’s sixth commitment right there and then. Hey, it’s Rocky Top, right?

Knoxville is a football city. It is a football state. The fans there love you. The staff loves you and the players are good guys to be around. I felt it when I was there for camp that is why I was hoping I would perform well enough to get an offer. I could not sleep the night before the camp.

*    *    *    *

When I committed, [coach Brooks] started hollering to Coach Fulmer and he gave me this real big bear-hug . . . .

After jumping on Tennessee’s scholarship offer, Vereen went on to prove that he deserved it by playing his entire senior season and racking up 2,603 (!) yards and 31 touchdowns. I don’t think I’ve walked that many yards in the last decade. The highlight of the season, according to Vereen, came against rival Hopewell High School:
They were running their mouth about how they were going to hold me to forty yards and I had 287 yards and three touchdowns. So that was a good night.

Good night? No kidding.

Well, other schools finally woke up to Vereen’s talent after his stellar senior season. North Carolina’s new staff even made a run at him despite his commitment and succeeded in talking him into taking an official visit. Ultimately, though, North Carolina was simply too late, and Vereen kept his word.

All together, Vereen turned down offers from Duke, North Carolina State, and South Carolina, some of them with a subtle flourish Vol fans are sure to appreciate.

I got an offer in the mail Saturday from South Carolina before I left for Virginia. I was excited about that, because for a little minute that’s where I wanted to go.

*    *    *    *

I still like [North] Carolina, but they haven’t offered. I guess I got to go with a school that has offered. South Carolina is now my leader, I guess.

By default. Emphasis mine, by the way. Interestingly, neither Rivals nor Scout show that North Carolina ever actually made an offer despite its late interest.

Honors

Vereen garnered so many honors in high school that working them into paragraph form is waaaaay too much work. But that's why God created bullets!

  • Four-year letterman and three-year starter in football.
  • Team captain as a junior and senior
  • CBSsportsline.com All-Region first-team honoree
  • Second-team All-Charlotte by the Charlotte Observer
  • Three-time All-Conference selection
  • All-Area Offensive Player of the Year as a senior
  • Gridiron Great Award in 2005 and 2006 by WSOC Channel 9 in Charlotte
  • All-County selection as a junior and senior
  • Starter on North Mecklenburg's 2005 state basketball championship team and 2006 state runner-up squad
  • Four-year letterman and two-year starter on the basketball team
  • All-County in track as a junior and regional finalist in the 100-meter dash as a sophomore
  • Top-times in track include 10.4 in the 100-meters and 21.30 in the 200-meters
  • Honor Roll in 2005 and 2006

Ratings

Rivals rates Vereen as the 35th best running back in the nation but gives him only three stars. Scout, which has him pegged as the 55th best at his position in the nation, also gives him only three stars. ESPN thinks more highly of Vereen, saying that he’s the 21st best in the nation. ESPN shuns teh starz.

Specs

Vereen is much more than just raw speed. His vision allows him to gain yards simply by recognizing opportunities and taking advantage of them. He can avoid tacklers because he is both elusive and agile and because he has a full repertoire of moves to throw at defenders. He can bull over tacklers because of his strength, and he can get that extra yard because he has uncanny balance and a knack for falling forward when finally caught and tackled. Add to all of this the fact that he hails from a school that is 93rd academically out of 27,000 schools, and you have the complete package.

Rocky Top Talk Mnemonic

In half a season
The other brother Daryl
Went for twelve hundred

Daryl Vereen, welcome to Rocky Top!

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